Your Daily Asia Gaming eBrief: China packs punch in online gambling crackdown

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The Vietnamese government is considering extending its locals-permitted casino pilot program by another two years, so that it may have more time to evaluate the program and decide whether it would roll out domestic gambling in the future. 
Meanwhile, Scientific Games says it is doubling down on its investment in digital business over the next three years, announcing plans to divest both its lottery and sports betting businesses after a strategic review. 
Finally, in this week’s Deep Dive into online gaming, we look at China’s crackdown on cross border gambling, which is showing no signs of easing. According to government figures, the crackdown has been highly effective, with 110,000 suspects arrested last year, more than 3,400 online gambling platforms closed down and more than 2,800 illegal payment platforms shuttered. 

First, the news


What you need to know


Vietnam considering extending locals casino pilot program to 2024

Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance is looking to extend its three-year casino pilot program to 2024, which will continue to allow locals to gamble in the Corona Resort on Phu Quoc island in the south and in a yet to be opened resort in Van Don in the north. The original end date of the pilot program is 2022, equating to a three year program, in which the government would then review, evaluate and decide whether it will continue allowing Vietnamese people to play in casinos. However, due to the pandemic the Ministry of Finance says there is more time needed to evaluate the pilot program. There is yet no word whether the government would consider expanding the pilot program to other casinos in the country. 

SG to divest lottery/sports betting to unlock value

Scientific Games expects its digital businesses to be the same size as its land-based operations within three years following major restructuring plans to unlock value for shareholders. The supplier has been carrying out a strategic review, focused on cutting debt on the balance sheet and unlocking value from its products and technologies. As a result of that review, the company said it plans to divest both its lottery and sports betting businesses, although the exact form of the divestment has still to be decided.

Earthquake-hit Fukushima Racecourse resumes operations

Fukushima Racecourse, one of the ten racing venues of the Japan Racing Association (JRA) system, has announced that it will be resuming operations in time for its next event launching on July 3. The racecourse was significantly damaged in an earthquake on February 13. Ceiling panels inside the stand fell onto the track, sprinkler damage let to water leakage, and there was an electrical system failure.

Insights


DEEP DIVE

China soft power packs punch in online gambling crackdown

China’s crackdown on online cross border gambling is showing no signs of easing, with Beijing’s increasing deployment of soft power across Asia reducing safe havens for operators.  “In short, China’s crackdown this time has been rather effective,” said one industry insider, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject. “Soft power to Asian governments from China is a real concern and significant. It’s a complex subject that probably involves many different levels of business and cultural contexts, but the result for our industry has been a significant shift in enforcement of China’s policies.”

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Agbriefings, june, 2021

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