Gambling on gambling. Asia's emerging gambling industry
29 Aug, 2008, Asia Pacific
Asian countries are awakening to the potential of the gaming industry and finding innovative and sustainable models to attract gamblers from within Asia and across the globe to provide a boost to their economic growth, according to a report released by Cushman & Wakefield, the world’s largest privately held real estate services firm.
Betting on Success, another in the firm’s Asia Report series, explains how gambling is a major tourist draw and in turn a huge revenue generator for the economy. In 2006, Japan drew 8 million tourists and Singapore, touted as Asia’s shopping destination, attracted all of 9.7 million tourists but Las Vegas, the mecca of gambling, attracted a staggering 38.9 million visitors. The stupendous success of Macau, which generated a gaming revenue of USD 7.2 billion in its first year of operation (the Sands Macau developed by the Las Vegas Sands group broke-even in its first year, a record in itself) and surpassed Las Vegas’s revenue of USD 6.6 billion, further reiterates the potential of this niche in the tourism industry in Asia.
Each country, in its quest for a larger share of the ‘gaming industry pie’ is now exploring the idea or is already developing casinos. Dr. Megan Walters, Regional Director - Research & Business Analytics Group for Cushman & Wakefield in Asia Pacific, and the author of the report, believes that “nobody is too pure, too dictatorial or too isolated to not have a casino.”
The key to success, points out the report, lies in the positioning of these casinos.
Macau has ambitious plans to attract international visitors in addition to Asians to enjoy the same standard of entertainment as Las Vegas. There are plans to reach out to the masses rather than be just an elitist gambling enclave. Countries like Singapore and Japan, are devising other ways to appeal to tourists. Singapore is going the Intergrated resort (IR) way, promoting itself as the shopping, meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) and a family vacation destination. Its developing a Universal theme park which further strengthens that position. Japan plans to position itself as an entertainment destination, with Vegas style shows.
Whilst a lucrative economic opportunity, countries like mainland China, India and Thailand have strict restrictions against casinos because of vices associated with gambling. Despite the social and moral misgivings, the tremendous success of Macao over such a short period and the knock-on effects for the host city like employment, gambling taxes and the investment brought in by the operators is tempting the Asian governments to gamble on gambling.
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Note to Editors:
1. Cushman & Wakefield is one of the world’s largest commercial real estate services firms. Founded in 1917, the firm has 215 offices in 56 countries, and 12,000 talented professionals. Cushman & Wakefield delivers integrated solutions by actively advising, implementing and managing on behalf of landlords, tenants, lenders and investors through every stage of the real estate process. These solutions include representing clients in the buying, selling, financing, leasing and managing of assets. The firm also provides valuation advice, strategic planning and research, portfolio analysis, and site selection and space location assistance, among many other advisory services. To find out more about Cushman & Wakefield, visit www.cushmanwakefield.com2. In Asia Pacific, C&W’s Research and Business Analytics Group is lead by Dr Megan Walters. Dr Walters is a Chartered Surveyor with 20 years experience in real estate and holds an MSc from the University of Reading and a PhD from the University of Hong Kong.
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