Asia round-up: Genting Malaysia’s future aims & another new CEO at The Star

By Louis Thompsett

Genting Singapore hopes to attract “premium” visitors following pandemic 

Genting Singapore’s CEO Mr Tan Hee Teck informed shareholders of his hope to attract “premium” visitors to Resorts World Sentosa (RSW), as Singapore looks to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Speaking at the operator's AGM (Annual General Meeting), Tan noted that overcoming crippled staff numbers in Singapore’s hospitality industry, as well as stronger revenue upon the return of air travel, will both be vital to re-establishing pre-pandemic levels at Genting’s resort. 

Tan hopes those visiting Singapore will be “premium” guests with the ability to spend, believing pent-up demand for entertainment services will drive a rush to return to the gaming scene for high-income players. 

To keep up with what Tan hopes is unprecedented demand, the Genting CEO believes the development of facilities, restaurants and hotel rooms is vital to cater to new customer demographics. 

Specifically, Tan believes the obvious trend would be the arrival of younger professionals and has announced new initiatives will be incorporated at RSW to address this.  

As a result of new demographics expected at RSW, Tan recognised that, without abandoning traditional gaming as an important revenue source, there is a need to broaden the casino’s offerings.

Tan went so far as to express his hope that after the next two or three years, RWS would transform the resort to cater to a far greater range of customers. 

Furthermore, Tan revealed that Genting Singapore currently has no plans to attempt an entrance into the Japanese market, given that Japanese IR legislation stipulates a seven-year cycle for each tranche of casino offerings.  

As a result of new demographics expected at RSW, Tan recognised that, without abandoning traditional gaming as an important revenue source, there is a need to broaden the casino’s offerings

Given that licences were recently issued, there will not be a new IR operator in Japan for several years yet. Genting Singapore is therefore not considering the Japanese market at this time, according to Tan.  

The Star appoints a new interim Chairman and Acting CEO 

The Star Entertainment Group has appointed Ben Heap as interim Chairman, and Geoff Hogg as Acting CEO. 

Subject to any regulatory approvals, the positions are effective from 1 June 2022 and follow the resignation of John O’Neill as Executive Chairman. O’Neill tendered his resignation as Executive Chairman on 20 May and also advised he would be stepping down from the company’s board. 

As noted by the operator, O’Neill will transition his Chair and executive responsibilities in an orderly manner, and will formally step down on 31 May 2022. He was appointed as Executive Chairman on an interim basis on 1 April following the resignation of Managing Director and CEO Matt Bekier on 28 March. 

A search for a permanent CEO of The Star began last month. The Australian operator added that remuneration arrangements for Hogg will be announced before he starts as acting CEO. He is currently the interim Chief Casino Officer for New South Wales and Queensland. 

The boardroom changes come amid the ongoing review into the group’s suitability to retain its casino licence for The Star Sydney. Earlier this month, the operator suspended all domestic and international rebate play programs, while also reconfirming a commitment to not deal with junkets. 

Further board changes have also taken place throughout a troubled month of May for The Star, with CFO Harry Theodore, Chief Casino Officer Greg Hawkins and Company Secretary Paula Martin all resigning from their roles. 

Macau Legend claims no irregularities in business dealings with former CEO

Macau Legend Development has suggested its own independent inquiry into business dealings between the company and its detained former CEO, Levo Chan, found "no irregularities."

Junket boss Chan was arrested alongside Alvin Chau on charges of cross-border gambling between Macau and China's mainland. 

It remains to be seen whether state bodies will consider this statement to have any legitimacy. 

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