Thursday, November 23, 2017

Positive growth predictions for South African gaming market


The gaming market in South Africa is reportedly expected to bring in annual aggregated gross revenues of at least ZAR35 billion ($2.49 billion) by 2021 and contribute total taxes every year of around ZAR3.5 billion ($249.49 million).
According to a report from the Johannesburg-based Business Report newspaper, this prediction is contained within the sixth annual edition of the Gambling Outlook for South Africa investigation published by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited.
The newspaper reported that the envisaged 2021 figure for aggregated gross gaming revenues would represent an over 29% swell from last year’s tally of ZAR27 billion ($1.92 million) with tax takings similarly well exceeding 2016’s reckoning of just over ZAR2.7 billion ($192.75 million).
The study moreover reportedly explained that South African casinos, which directly employ in excess of 10,000 people across the country, accounted for some 66% of last year’s gross gaming revenues and paid ZAR1.8 billion ($128.84 million) in taxes while the betting sector sat second with a combined contribution of ZAR430 million ($30.73 million).
The newspaper explained that bingo was highlighted as the fastest growing sector of the industry as it chalked up a 36.6% boost year-on-year in gross gaming revenues last year. This activity reportedly accounted for 5% of combined takings, which represented a 1% increase from 2015, with the province of Gauteng leading the way after it recorded a 37.6% rise to ZAR813 million ($58.13 million).
The PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited investigation furthermore predicted that bingo’s annual aggregated gross gaming revenues by 2021 would hit ZAR2.2 billion ($157.37 million), which would represent a compounded growth rate of almost 12%.
Finally, after registering year-on-year declines in every one of the four years up to 2016, lottery sales reportedly rebounded in 2016 with combined revenues climbing by 34.7% when compared with 2015 to hit ZAR2.98 billion ($213.17 million).
Pietro Calicchio from PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited reportedly told Business Report that South Africa’s gaming industry would ‘continue to be adversely affected in the near-term by slower economic growth’ before improving conditions closer to 2021 ‘aid growth’.
“The industry remains an important contributor to the economy through the creation of jobs, continued capital expansion and the payment of taxes to both provincial and national government,” Calicchio reportedly told the newspaper.

Rainer Kempe earns $200,000 with Caribbean Poker Party Festival win


The Caribbean Poker Party Festival is in full swing in Punta Cana with players from around the globe taking part in various events hosted by partypoker. The $1,100 MILLIONS Open event just recently finished up, with 812 players competing. In the end, it was Rainer Kempe who finished in first-place, earning $200,000 for his efforts.
According to Poker News, once the poker tournament whittled down to the final two, it would be Kempe and Claudio Di Giacomo competing in heads-up play. The two would battle for the chip lead for around 45 minutes with each player staying fairly close to the other. Heads-up play would last just over 90 minutes before the final hand would take place.
Kempe would slowly work on Di Giacomo’s chip stack and when he had the lead, the last hand of the tournament would take place. Both would be all in before the flop with Di Giacomo holding A-Q with Kempe showing A-K. An Ace hit on the flop giving Kempe the lead and there was no help on the turn and river, so Di Giacomo would have to settle for second place.

Macau records sizeable boost in October visitor numbers


Macau reportedly experienced a 7.9% increase year-on-year in the total number of October tourists to nearly 2.89 million despite earlier recording a 2% decline in visitor numbers for the first four days of the month’s annual Golden Week holiday.
According to a report from GGRAsia citing official figures from Macau’s Statistics and Census Service, the former Portuguese enclave noted an 8.4% boost year-on-year in the number of same-day tourists during the 31-day month to around 1.42 million while the tally for overnight guests rose by rose by 7.3% to reach almost 1.47 million with the average length of stay remaining constant at 1.2 days.
Of those visiting Macau in October, the official figures reportedly showed that some 2.05 million were from mainland China, which represented a swell of 12.8% year-on-year, with the number traveling under the Individual Visit Scheme growing by 11.1% to hit 959,648.
However, GGRAsia reported that the number of tourists traveling to Macau from Hong Kong, which has historically been the city’s second most important source market after mainland China, in October dropped by 9.4% year-on-year while the tally of those coming from third-placed Taiwan fell off by 2.1%. But, this was significantly offset by a 54.5% improvement in the amount of visitors from South Korea as this nation accounted for some 80,525 tourists to trail Taiwan by fewer than 5,000 sightseers.

The Games Company Limited inks ‘strategic’ distribution deal


Independent online casino games developer The Games Company Limited has announced the signing of a ‘strategic’ distribution deal with British platform and software provider Bede Gaming Limited that will see its remote games server innovation utilized by online gaming sites operated by The Rank Group.
The Games Company Limited revealed that its remote games server is powered by technology from Black Cow Technology Limited and will soon begin delivering games including the five-reel Mariachi Mayhem video slot to MeccaBingo.com and GrosvenorCasino.com subsequent to adding additional titles on a monthly basis.
Hans Winkelmann, Managing Director for The Games Company Limited declared that he was ‘delighted’ to have inked the deal with Bede Gaming Limited and is now looking forward to delivering his firm’s innovation to the British online gaming market.
“The Games Company Limited’s remote games server allows us to deliver premium casino content quickly and easily to operators,” read a statement from Winkelmann.
For his part, Michael Brady, Chief Executive Officer for Newcastle-upon-Tyne-headquartered Bede Gaming Limited, also expressed delight before declaring that the agreement represented the ‘easy integration to a platform so our clients’ content requests are met in a timely manner and a fast route to customers for partners’.
“We believe that our partnership with The Games Company [Limited] will offer significant value to [our] customers,” read a statement from Bhotesh Maheshwari, Casino and Games Head for The Rank Group.

Andrew Tan Adds Ritz-Carlton Hotel to Resorts World Manila Casino Complex


Philippine businessman Andrew Tan will bring authentic Ritz-Carlton experience in his home country with the addition of a hotel of that brand to his flagship casino resort Resorts World Manila. Local media outlet the Philippine Star reported that the accommodation facility is expected to open doors within the next three years.
It is believed that the existing Maxims Hotel will be redeveloped and rebranded as a Ritz-Carlton hotel. The future accommodation facility at Resorts World Manila is also expected to bring new retail brands to the country, as revealed by industry sources.
The opening of a Ritz-Carlton hotel in the Philippines will come as part of parent company Marriott International’s expansion across the Asia-Pacific region. The hotel chains operator was planning to open 16 new venues of seven different brands across the region by the end of the year and is well on track to complete that plan.
At present, the company manages 130 hotel resorts across different countries in the region, with some of those being China, Thailand, and Malaysia. The hotel at Resorts World Manila will be the first Ritz-Carlton one in the Philippines.
Resorts World Manila was the first integrated resort to open doors in the Philippine capital. The multi-purpose complex is located in Newport City, in the Manila metropolitan area, and features multiple accommodation, retail, entertainment, and food and beverage opportunities. It also has a large casino floor with both slot machines and table games, which are intended for both mass market and high roller players.
Local media reported that the new hotel at the resort will aim to further increase its popularity among VIP customers from the Asia-Pacific region.

Choctaw Tribe Members to Vote on Proposed Casino Expansion


Members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will be able to cast their vote on whether they approve the construction of the tribe’s fourth casinothis Thursday. The tribe currently owns the Golden Moon and Silver Star casinos in Choctaw and Bok Homa Casino near Laurel.
If approved by tribal members, the new casino will be located in Red Water. Phyliss J. Anderson, the Choctaw chief, has been the main backer of the casino expansion effort. It has been for several years now that the tribal official has been calling for the construction of a new gambling venue. According to Ms. Anderson, the new casino will be able to produce new revenue for the tribe and two create new job positions. She pointed out that annual revenue of $50 million and over 250 new jobs could be generated, if her effort is approved.
It was not before January 2017 that her proposal was backed by the Tribal Council. The next step is for the tribe’s more than 11,000 members to voice their opinion on the matter.

UK’s Financial Conduct Authority Assumes Control over Binary Options Regulation in Early 2018


The UK Financial Conduct Authority will assume control over the regulation of the nation’s binary options industry, the financial regulator itself announced today. The FCA also issued a warning on the growing popularity of cryptocurrency CFD investing, arguing that the activity carries a high level of risk for those engaged.
The financial regulator will take charge over the regulation of binary options from January 3, 2018. Up until now, the activity has been regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. Under the existing (and rather fuzzy) regulatory regime, binary options companies with equipment in the United Kingdom are required to obtain licenses from the gambling regulator.
As from the beginning of 2018, every company in the field interested to provide its services in the UK will be regulated by the FCA and the regulatory body will monitor whether operators are observing the rules.
The regulator said in a warning from earlier today that binary options are a “high-risk, speculative” product and that investing in those is a risky endeavor. The FCA went on to say that most customers that trade binary options are likely to suffer losses as the activity requires comprehensive experience in the field that could help them “beat the odds”.
The regulatory body also drew attention to the increasing cases of customers being scammed by brokers. The most common instances involve promises for higher returns for bets, customers being refused to be returned funds, and brokers breaking contact with their customers.
Cases of conflicts of interest have also been noted by the FCA as particularly frequent over the years. In such instances, companies a consumer buys binary options from benefit from the latter’s losses.
According to the FCA, a total of 2,605 people have reported binary options fraud in the five years since 2012. The victims were occasioned losses of £59.4 million or an average of £22,000 per person.

Caesars Eyes Japan Expansion with Two Casino Resort Plans


Major hotel and casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. has presented two plans for the development of integrated resorts in two Japanese cities. The company revealed earlier this year that it would look to extend its global footprint to the Pacific Ocean island nation.
Last month, Caesars’ main operating unit finally exited bankruptcy protection after more than two and a half years. The major operator said previously that geographical expansion would take an important role in its post-bankruptcy growth strategy. Aside from Japan, the company also eyes expansion in Canada and Brazil.
During a recent visit to Japan, Caesars’ Executive Vice President Jan Jones Blackhurst revealed that the operator is particularly interested in building an integrated resort either in Osaka or in Tomakomai. Similarly to other casino executives, Ms. Blackhurst said she believes Japan has the potential to turn into a major gambling destination. She further noted that the country actually offers better access to popular tourist destinations than Las Vegas, for example, which is located in a Nevada desert area.

Local Governments Should Decide Integrated Casino Resorts’ Fate in Japan


Speaking during the MGS Summit 2017 yesterday, the Chief Executive Officer of Capital & Innovation Co. Ltd, Mr. Takayoshi Koike claimed that it is not the central government that is entitled to select the gambling companies allowed to operate in the country, but the local ones.
At the time he spoke at this year’s edition of the MGS Summit, Mr. Takayoshi paid extra attention at the advantages forming the basis of the development of Integrated Resorts (IRs) in Japan and the occurring business potential.
Mr. Takayoshi also commented on the influence that Integrated Resorts have on the entire economy, saying that they expect the gross gaming product (GGR) of Japan to increase to a total amount of $20 billion. He further explained that the Japanese Government might give the green light to the development process of up to nine Integrated Resorts across the country. According to him, only one or two IRs might get the authorities’ approval in the initial stage.
The Capital & Innovation Co.’s CEO, who is known for his experience working at Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, praised the massive potential of the Integrated Resorts and their possible future market capitalization in the country, saying they could bring between $2.5 and $3 billionto Japan.

Tullamore Casino Complex Proposal Gets Second Rejection


A proposal for the construction of a casino complex next to an existing hotel in the Irish town of Tullamore received another blow earlier this week. An Bord Plean├íla, an independent, quasi-judicial body, rejected an appeal by the developer behind the project to allow its realization. The plan was previously dismissed by the Offaly County Council.
The ambitious project was brought forward by local businessman Patrick Leneghan last November. Mr. Leneghan is a prominent hotelier in the region and the owner of the Bridge House Hotel in the heart of Tullamore. The hotel owner proposed to expand his existing business in the town by building a hotel and casino complex right next to the aforementioned property.
The Offaly County Council turned down the proposal earlier this year, arguing that the complex’s “excessive scale” would impact adversely the existing “visual amenities” located in its immediate proximity. Mr. Leneghan’s plan included “the conservation and redevelopment” of the nearby Malt Kiln and Malt house. The structures are designated as protected and are considered crucial elements to the town center’s streetscape.
In its ruling from earlier this week, An Bord Plean├íla backed the County Council’s decision, ruling that the project with its massiveness would affect negatively and materially the protected structures, and that with its height and scale it would not match the general pattern of the area. The quasi-judicial body further voiced concerns that the plan lacked adequate parking proposalsthat would mitigate the increased traffic the potential construction of the complex would cause.

Cyprus Casino Resort Project Progresses Smoothly Despite Hard Rock’s Exit


The withdrawal of Hard Rock International from the €500-million plan for the construction of Republic of Cyprus’ first casino resort has not deterred the progress of the project, a local gambling regulator said.
Christos Mavrellis, President of the Cypriot National Gaming Commission told Chinese news outlet Xinhuanet, that the materialization of the project is progressing smoothly, even though one of the original partners walked out.
Last October, a group of investors comprised of international casino operators Hard Rock International and Melco International Development and local partner CNS Group was selected as the preferred bidder for the construction of the Mediterranean island nation’s first casino resort. Here it is interesting to note that Hard Rock, Melco, and their partner were actually the only bidder to have successfully applied for the necessary approval from Cypriot gambling and financial regulators.
The deal between the group of investors and local officials was signed in late June. Hard Rock, which is the operator of a number of casino properties in the United States and has been looking to expand its global presence, announced that it was pulling out of the agreement on the very next day after it was signed.
Hard Rock sold its stake in the development to its partner Melco, with the latter thus becoming the largest stakeholder in the venture. The Hong Kong-listed company, owned by casino tycoon Lawrence Ho, currently holds 70.74% in what would be Cyprus’ first casino resort. The project has also been touted as the largest one of this kind in Europe.