Speaking on the Business Recovery of Macau Gaming panel at the MGS Summit this Wednesday, Aristocrat General Manager for Asia Lloyd Robson chartered a future in which South Korea will become a key market for gamblers as China continues to shut down gambling as a possible entertainment avenue at home and overseas.
Yet, there are other factors at play here. According to Robson, China’s zero-COVID policy would have a direct impact on how quickly the borders with key markets, including Macau, reopen. The focus may shift on other locations, as well, at least in the short-term, he said, cited by Inside Asian Gaming.
Robson expects Chinese consumers to face troubles in the coming years insofar as crossing the border beyond Macau goes. Because of that, many operators would probably end up fighting for Korean players, who are already frequenting locations in the Philippines and Vietnam.
Countries Target South Korean Tourists as Their Numbers Increase
Many countries across the region are seemingly prioritizing South Korea, as its tourists are willing to travel and spend money. Singapore and Vietnam have both arranged various initiatives to facilitate the movement of people from South Korea towards their countries.
Clark Global City in the Philippines also realizes 70% of its gross gaming revenue from South Korean visitors, and the jurisdiction has taken special measures to facilitate visitors. Scientific Games’ VP and managing director for Asia, Ken Jolly, confirmed that recovery in the region would be made at each country’s individual pace, saying that there is some room to be positive as the Philippines is already taking in more visitors.
South Korean travelers are numerous as they are expected to reach 29.6 million by 2024, becoming one of the most populous groups of people to visit neighboring countries. There were more South Koreans in the Philippines in 2019 with 1.9 million arrivals, with China only posting 1.7 million people.
Chinese tourist numbers are falling a little as junket operators have been cracked down hard on by authorities in Beijing who have tied such operations to many illegal gambling activities, often luring Chinese citizens abroad under fall pretense.