Your Daily Asia Gaming eBrief: May Golden Week flights boost Macau recovery

Good morning.

Despite pachinko revenues reaching near 75 percent of pre-pandemic numbers, March was a devastating month for Japan’s pachinko industry, with more than a hundred parlors disappearing in that short period at the end of the fiscal year. In related news, today marks the first day of the Japan IR Forum Online, which will be held until Thursday this week. Our coverage of Macau continues with China adding flights to the SAR in another positive sign for the recovery of the city’s gross gambling revenue. Meanwhile, Cebu is seen as a glimmering hope for the recovery of Philippines’ tourism industry post covid. Finally, we update you on the latest in the Crown’s WA Royal Commission after it was revealed that James Packer has not been called to give evidence as of yet. 

First, the news

What you need to know

China adds flights to Macau in latest sign of recovery: MS

Cities in Mainland China are increasing their seat capacity to Macau in another sign seen as positive for the city’s gross gambling revenue, according to Morgan Stanley. The firm has been tracking flights to the gambling hub, as it says it has seen a strong correlation between that and market capitalization. For the upcoming May Golden Week holiday, seats from Shanghai are at about 61 percent of their 2019 capacity up from just 46 percent last week. From Beijing they are at 64 percent, up from 42 percent.

Air Macau

Packer not yet called by WA Commission

James Packer has not yet been called to give evidence at the WA royal commission into Crown Resorts which began in March. The WA Royal Commission is looking into the suitability of Crown Perth to continue holding a casino gaming licence following the findings of the Bergin Inquiry in NSW. Earlier this year, Commission Patricia Bergin expressed her concerns of Packer’s enduring influence over Crown despite moving away from the board in 2018. 

More than 100 pachinko parlors closed in March alone

March was a devastating month for Japan’s pachinko industry, with more than a hundred parlors disappearing in that short period at the end of the fiscal year. According to the regular monthly survey of All Japan Amusement Business Cooperative Association, to which about 90% of all pachinko businesses belong the organization counted 8,063 pachinko parlors as its members. The industry has been facing multiple challenges aside from the pandemic, including tighter regulation and a declining customer base.



Cebu short-term success seen linked to locals

Cebu, with its white sand beaches and coral reefs, was one of the most visited tourism destinations in the Philippines in 2019 and has sparked the interest of integrated resort investors as a potential gaming hub. From the figures, the potential is clear. However, the Covid pandemic has changed the international outlook in the short term at least and operators will need to tweak their offering to focus on the local market, experts say. 

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