During this year’s G2E Asia conference in Macau, Praveen Choudhary, Managing Director of Morgan Stanley Asia Limited, underscored Singapore’s remarkable resurgence in the gaming sector. Contrary to Macau, Singapore has outpaced expectations, exhibiting a resurgence in mass and slots revenue, growing from 111 percent to 135 percent of pre-COVID levels in the first quarter of this year.

Singapore’s gaming boom: a financial perspective:

Choudhary shared compelling data revealing Singapore’s gaming market’s meteoric rise. In 2019, the city-state’s gaming operators amassed $4.5 billion, a figure that surged to $5.3 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach $6.9 billion by 2024, according to Morgan Stanley estimates. This substantial growth starkly contrasts with Macau’s more modest recovery, where mass and slots gaming revenue has only rebounded to a range of 60-113 percent.

The success story of Singapore’s gaming market is attributed to a blend of favorable economic conditions. Choudhary emphasized two critical factors: inflation and wealth. Singapore’s strategic geographical location and its role as a financial hub in Asia have facilitated a steady influx of wealth, contributing significantly to its gaming industry’s resilience.

Furthermore, the ongoing wealth migration from Hong Kong to Singapore has provided structural advantages to the city-state’s gaming sector. Choudhary highlighted this phenomenon, stating, “Some of that money is going to Singapore. So it’s a structural benefit that Singapore has.” This shift in wealth dynamics has bolstered Singapore’s position as a formidable competitor in the regional gaming landscape.

VIP market dynamics: Singapore’s rise:

Singapore’s ascent in the VIP gambling sector has been notable, particularly as Macau’s junket-driven VIP business has declined. Choudhary observed, “Singapore is a big percentage, but it’s much bigger than it used to be. So you look at 8 percent and now it’s 31 percent. That’s because Singapore never uses junkets or they can’t.” This shift underscores Singapore’s evolving role as a preferred destination for high-rollers in Asia.

While the gaming revenue recovery remains uneven across different markets, Singapore has emerged as a standout performer. Visitor arrivals and hotel occupancy rates in Singapore are approaching or surpassing pre-COVID levels, indicating a robust recovery trajectory. As Asia Gaming Brief reports, Choudhary remarked, “The visitors are closer to pre-COVID levels. But the Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) number is very high. If you’re going to Marina Bay Sands, currently, I think the average rate is $600 to $700.”

As the Asian gaming landscape evolves, Singapore’s strategic advantages, including its wealth, geographic location, and regulatory framework, position it as a formidable competitor to the once-dominant Macau market. With a resilient economy and a conducive business environment, Singapore’s gaming industry continues to shine brightly amidst the challenges posed by the pandemic, signaling a promising future for the city-state’s gaming sector.