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Asia weekly round-up: SJM, MGM China losses widen, three resign from The Star & more

Our biggest Asia-based stories of the week are detailed below, with the top story coming from the Philippines... 

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Philippines President Duterte orders immediate ban on e-sabong  

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has ordered the immediate termination of e-sabong (online cockfighting) operations in the country.  

E-sabong is the most popular form of gambling in the Philippines, and the move will see the Philippines lose up to PHP600m ($11.4m) in tax revenue, as reported by the Philippine News Agency.   

Duterte’s decision was based on a recommendation from the Philippines Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, following the conclusion of a survey on the social impact of e-sabong. 

The President’s decision came during a broadcast on the Filipino talk show, Talk to the People.  

He said: “[Año] cited the validation report coming from all sources. So, since it is his recommendation and I agreed with it and it is good, e-sabong will end by tonight. 

Read more here... 

SJM Holdings net loss doubles in Q1; MGM China revenue down 25% 

SJM Holdings has doubled its losses for Q1 to HK$1.3bn ($163.4m), losses which stood at HK$647m during the same period last year.   

The operator has also posted wider falls in adjusted EBITDA for Q1 2022, at -HK$474m, down on last year’s adjusted EBITDA of -HK$319m.   

MGM China has posted gross gaming revenue (GGR) of MOP17.8bn ($220.2m) for the first quarter of 2022, down 25% year-on-year.  

Its daily GGR for Q1 2022 is a mere 35% of daily figures from Q4 2019, despite the fact revenue totalled HK$2.1bn this quarter, and adjusted EBITDA was at HK$84m. 

Read more here... 

Three more resign from beleaguered Star Entertainment Group 

Three more senior figures at The Star have tendered their resignations amid a New South Wales (NSW) royal-commission style inquiry into the casino’s suitability to hold its licence in the state.  

Click here for our exclusive interview with Hoiana CMO, Jit Ng, which is now available in full 

These resignations come from the company’s CFO Harry Theodore, Chief Casino Officer (CCO) Greg Hawkins and Chief Legal & Risk Officer and Company Secretary Paula Martin.  

Hearing inquiries into The Star began on 17 March, following allegations of money laundering through mismanaged China Unionpay cards. Non-gambling-related transactions were moved by The Star and processed as casino-related transactions.  

Gambling is strictly prohibited in mainland China, where China Unionpay operates. These transactions, therefore, raised serious red flags at the Chinese bank, and The Star has been legally apprehended ever since.  

Read more here... 

Studio City first quarter revenue down 58% 

Macau’s integrated resort Studio City has reported total operating revenue for Q1 2022 of $12m, down 58% from the same period in 2021.   

The Melco-operated casino’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) was also down $23.5m from the same period in 2021 at $75m, as was rolling chip volume by $65.7m.  

Furthermore, drop from table games decreased 38% year-on-year, while gaming machine handle fell by $45.3m.  

Studio City generated negative adjusted EBITDA of $26.7m, down a further 99% on adjusted EBITDA posted in the prior-year period.  

The accruement of these negative figures has resulted in a total operating loss of $61.9m for Q1, compared with operating losses of $45.1m in the first quarter of 2021. 

Read more here... 

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Wilfred Wong: Macau “cannot just rely on gaming”

Sands China’s President and Executive Director, Wilfred Wong, has echoed earlier calls by the Chinese Government to diversify the gambling province of Macau.