Asian gaming

We have heard a lot about how unreliable opinion polls are in the world’s largest democracy. But there is another – albeit less legitimate – barometer of political sentiment in India and that’s the country’s vast and lively gambling industry.

Behind cricket, elections are the biggest business for India’s clandestine gambling industry, where bookies often masquerade as shops or stock market brokerages. “If you don’t know them through a contact you won’t even know that these are bookies,” says Jay Sayta, who runs a blog on gambling laws in India. Read more

China’s anti-corruption campaign hit hard last year: sales of Maotai liquor are down, luxury sales are on the slide, and the number of high-end clubs and restaurants shrank. Everything, it seems – except Macau’s casinos.

With the start of the Year of the Horse, a new influx of mainland gamblers will rush into the former Portuguese colony, now the only legal place to gamble in China. The turnaround from a year ago is remarkable. Read more

Earlier this week Ranjit Sinha, director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, made headlines when he said: “If you can’t enforce it, it is like you can’t prevent rape, enjoy it.” A particularly tactless comment given the spotlight on violence against women in India at the moment.

Looking past the (incredibly) poorly-chosen analogy, Sinha was making an important point about sports betting. “It is better to legalise it and earn some revenue rather than throwing up your hands,” he continued. Read more

A web games company is about to test the appetite for Chinese floats in the US in one of the first such deals since the accounting scandals that rocked many Chinese companies in 2011.

7Road.com is the games subsidiary of Changyou.com, a Chinese online game developer that in turn is majority-owned by Nasdaq-listed Sohu.comRead more

As beyondbrics reported recently, Asian gaming keeps on rolling the dice, with rapid expansion of casinos on Macau’s Cotai strip, as well as in Manila.

Now Sands China, the Macau casino operator owned by US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, has just released good numbers: The company saw a 52 per cent increase in fourth-quarter net profit as it benefited from an increase in visitors to its newest property in the territory. Read more

By Michael Beer of Citigroup

As Bloomberry Resorts‘ new $700m Solaire Resort and Casino nears completion, Manila Bay will finally showcase its potential within the regional gaming arena. Reflecting the heightened enthusiasm around the project launch as well as continued interest in gaming in east Asia, Bloomberry’s shares have risen over 30 per cent in just the past five months. Read more

When it comes to investing in the Asian consumer, you can always try betting on betting.

MGM China, a joint venture between MGM Resorts International and the daughter of casino mogul Stanley Ho, got a 7 per cent boost in its shares after announcing that it had received approval to build a second resort in MacauRead more

Is the new leadership in Beijing going to crack down on the billions in illicit funds long believed to be bank-rolling Macau’s spectacular rise as the Las Vegas of the East?

That’s the question investors were asking as they sold down Macau gaming shares on Tuesday, following new reports that a handful of junket operators had been arrested for suspected money laundering. Read more

Galaxy Entertainment Group, which runs one of Macau’s biggest and brashest casino resorts, saw strong demand for its stock when UK private equity firm Permira decided to sell off another big chunk of its holdings on Tuesday.

One big US investor, Waddell & Reed, accounted for the lion’s share of the 7 per cent stake, according to market sources, although the Kansas-based mutual fund company is thought to have bought less than 5 per cent, which means it will not have to declare its stake. Read more

“I started it”

Environmentalists and nature lovers in Asia, look away now.

Looking at Sheldon Adelson’s projects in Macau’s Cotai Strip, you get the sense that the chairman of Sands China is not in the “green” camp. All the plants in his new, greenhouse-themed Cotai Central resort are plastic, and he just announced a plan to turn an area designated a “tropical garden” on planning maps into a massive shopping mall. Read more

Wanted: a piece of the action

Governments across Asia have been keen to replicate the success of Macau, the region’s casino hub, where billions have been made from wealthy Chinese gamblers.

Taiwan residents in Matsu, a tiny island that is much closer to mainland China than its parent, have said Yes to gambling. Developers are keen to get started. But given Taiwan’s complicated (to say the least) relationship with mainland China, what are the odds of the plan working? Read more

Insert casino here

The four big casino complexes rising along the scenic Manila Bay in the Philippines haven’t opened their doors yet, four years after the government awarded the exclusive licenses as part of the country’s ambitious plan to cash in on Asia’s gambling and tourism boom.

But that has not stopped Enrique Razon Jr, the 52-year old chief executive of the country’s biggest port operator, from almost doubling his net worth in just a matter of months after a public offering of shares in his Bloomberry Resorts and Hotels, a holder of one of the lucrative, limited-edition permits. Read more