Your Daily Asia Gaming eBrief: How China’s new criminal law affects Macau and its junkets – Ben Lee

Macau Junkets not expected to fully recover from Covid downturn

Good morning.

The runway is finally clear for Crown Resorts to open up its Sydney gaming rooms after receiving in-principle approval from the NSW regulator yesterday. It does however, come with the caveat that junket operations will cease indefinitely –  and this goes for their Sydney rival Star too. Across Asia, we see a number of companies reporting their Q1 earnings, including Galaxy Entertainment GroupAsia Pioneer EntertainmentSega SammyKonami and Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, we bring you what you need to know from each of those filings. Our Friday treat for you is our interview with gaming veteran Ben Lee, who speaks to us about how China’s new criminal law may affect Macau and its junkets, along with what digital yuan means for future casino revenue in Macau. 

First, the news

What you need to know

Galaxy Q1 EBITDA up 204%, IR performance improves

Galaxy Entertainment said its Q1 adjusted EBITDA more than tripled from the same period last year, though was down from the prior quarter due to seasonal softness in its construction division. Galaxy chairman Lui Che Woo said that while the group is encouraged by Macau’s gradual recovery, it remains cautiously optimistic that business conditions will continue to improve, whilst remaining “hypersensitive” about any future outbreaks of the pandemic. 

Crown on track for Sydney casino operations by October

Crown Resorts is on track to open the casino at its Barangaroo resort in Sydney before the end of October after making “significant” progress in its efforts to regain suitability for a license, according to the New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority. In a press release, the regulator outlined steps taken by Crown and further measures that had been agreed with the company. As part of the latest discussions, Crown agreed to pay a fee towards the cost of the Bergin inquiry of $12.5 million, as well as to pay an annual Casino Supervisory Levy of $5 million for 2021 and 2022.

crown melbourne

Sega Sammy annual profit down over 90%

Heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Sega Sammy Holdings reported that its profits for the April 2020-March 2021 were down over 90 percent from the previous year. Sega Sammy did note some recovery in domestic tourism during the July to December 2020 period with the support of the government’s controversial “Go To Travel” subsidy campaign. However, this evaporated in the first quarter of 2021 with the resurgence—on a much larger scale than before—of the pandemic. Paradise City, operated by affiliate Paradise Segasammy, in the calendar year 2020 saw drop amounts at only 33.8 percent, and guest numbers only 45.5 percent, compared to with the previous year.



How digital yuan could cause growth explosion in Macau 

Ben Lee, managing partner of iGamiX Management & Consulting speaks with Asia Gaming Brief Managing Editor Sharon Singleton about how China’s new criminal law may affect Macau and its junkets. He also talks about the increasing chatter about the introduction of a digital yuan in Macau, which could trigger explosive growth in casino revenue.

Ben Lee, digital yuan, macau

Corporate Spotlight

Pragmatic Play on the forefront of Asian markets growth

With so much room for development in the Asian markets, Pragmatic Play isn’t resting on its laurels. The increasing acceptance of igaming has seen a slow change in attitude towards regulation, with more and more markets on the cusp of delivering legislative roadmaps, which will truly propel the market to a period of hypergrowth – something Pragmatic Play intends to be at the forefront of.

Pragmatic Play Dragon Tiger

Industry Updates

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Asia Gaming Briefings, april 2021