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The year in review

2023 was a strong and transformational year for the gaming industry across Asia-Pacific. It marked a new beginning for operators and suppliers in the region after a very long period of Covid-19 restrictions.

Macau regained lead from Las Vegas as the world’s top gaming hub, with gross gaming revenue for 2023 reaching MOP183.06bn ($22.7bn). The start of last year also marked the beginning of the new 10-year gaming concession contracts for the six operators there who, as part of the deal, had to agree to significantly expand their non-gaming offerings and help Macau diversify its economy away from gaming. As a result, over the course of 2023, Macau hosted 180 pop concerts and over 1,000 MICE events.

Asia’s second-largest gambling destination, Singapore, continued to outperform itself with gaming revenues up 15% compared to pre-Covid levels. Analysts already project a further 10% growth this year. 2023 revenue at Marina Bay Sands (the leader of the duopoly in the country) reached $3.95bn, while Genting Singapore reported revenue of SG$2.42bn ($1.80bn).

The Philippines, however, is quickly catching up. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, the Chairman and CEO of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Alejandro H. Tengco, expressed his optimism in the Philippines surpassing Singapore as the region’s second-largest gambling hub by 2025.

Gross gaming revenue in the Philippines reached a record PHP285.27bn ($5.1bn) in 2023 with PAGCOR already expecting the country to achieve a new GGR record in 2024, of about PHP336bn ($6.1bn). Bloomberry Resorts’ long-anticipated Solaire Resort North, which is opening its doors in late May, is surely set to be a significant contributor to those ambitious GGR numbers.

Suppliers continued to refer to the Philippines as a key market in which they expect further growth. Aristocrat Gaming opened its first dedicated gaming showroom in the country in April last year while suppliers from the digital gaming vertical continued to upgrade their offering by launching new market-attuned online slots and live casino games. IGaming revenue in the Philippines reached PHP58.16bn ($1.04bn) in 2023, almost doubling 2022’s total.

Elsewhere, Thailand remained a topic of interest in the industry as the country continued to explore the opportunities the legalization of casinos could bring. In March this year, Thailand’s House of Representatives voted infavor of a study by a panel of lawmakers to allow casinos to be housed within large entertainment complexes.

In Australia, the past 12 months were marked by regulatory updates. The Senate approved legislation to prohibit the use of credit cards for online gambling in the country and the federal government is preparing to unveil changes to gambling regulation following an inquiry into gambling harm. Said inquiry recommended that a gambling advertisements ban is implemented within three years.

The Mohegan Tribe and the Republic of Korea unveiled the country’s newest integrated resort with a foreigner-only casino – Mohegan INSPIRE Entertainment Resort, which celebrated its soft opening in November last year. The IR is poised to become a landmark destination in the region while boosting tourism and economic growth.

Of course, I can’t avoid mentioning the latest developments in Japan. In September last year, MGM Resorts International and ORIX Corporation signed an agreement with Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City, officially closing the certification process for their $10 billion IR project there which, once open (in 2030), will feature the country’s very first casino. Elsewhere, Japan’s central government officially rejected plans for an integrated resort in Nagasaki.

The list of highlights for the APAC gaming industry can go on and on but I will leave it here. You can find out more about what operators and suppliers achieved throughout the past 12 months in the next pages, where we give you the Shortlist for each of the 11 categories of the Global Gaming Awards Asia-Pacific 2024.

For those of you who aren’t fully familiar with our event yet, I’ll quickly explain the process behind it. At the start of the year, we gave companies a chance to submit self-nominations and outline their achievements in the APAC region from the past year. Our team carefully reviewed all self-nominations received and in addition, we asked independent industry experts and consultants for their recommendations before narrowing down the Shortlist.

There is an equal number of nominees (eight) in each category and companies have only been shortlisted once per category, meaning that those who have multiple brands, can only have one of said brands shortlisted in a particular category. Every company and individual have been shortlisted for a specific reason which you can read in the next pages.

We then invited senior industry executives, all with vast knowledge and years of experience in the APAC industry, to vote for a winner and a runner-up in each category. Only one executive per company is allowed to participate in the process and should their company be nominated in a particular category, they are of course excluded from voting in it. KPMG in the Crown Dependencies independently adjudicates the voting process to ensure full transparency and fairness.

I cannot thank enough all the executives who kindly agreed to participate in this year’s Judging Panel. Your contribution to our event is invaluable! Of course, I also want to thank KPMG in the Crown Dependencies’ team for ensuring we can create the industry’s most credible and prestigious awards.

Finally, thank you to BetConstruct, Light & Wonder, Interblock Gaming, Aristocrat Gaming, SPRIBE and Z-Gaming for supporting our event.

Congratulations to all those who were shortlisted this year. Looking forward to seeing you all in Manila!