Asia round-up: Citizen Zhijiang, Q2 woes and Galaxy’s concession quest

She Zhijiang will be extradited back to China

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She Zhijiang will be extradited back to China

Captured Chinese online gambling operator She Zhijiang will be deported from Thailand and back to China following his arrest last week, Thai police have confirmed.

Upon his return, he faces charges of running an illegal cross-border gambling operation.

As the chairman of Yatai International Holding Group, Zhijiang was convicted of running an illegal lottery business in the Philippines by a court in the Shandong province of China – though he had settled in Cambodia as a citizen by then, leading to a decade-long hunt by Chinese authorities to get him back.

Yantai International, meanwhile, continues to work on a $15bn casino development on the Burmese border.

Catena reports slowed growth in Japan

In its disappointing Q2 report, Catena Media pointed to decreased Japanese revenue as one of the major factors behind the slump. The affiliate pointed to a weak yen and political controversy for its poor performance – though it expects to see better results in the future, as pro-gaming parties were recently elected in the country.

Catena CEO Michael Daly commented on the situation, saying: “Revenue in Japan declined unexpectedly due to multiple factors including a weak yen and a political controversy centred on online gaming. The political storm temporarily jolted player sentiment and depressed revenue, and we anticipate it will take a quarter or so for the impact to abate. This process will benefit from the victory of pro-gaming parties in July’s parliamentary elections.

"The parties’ initial focus will be on legalising land-based casinos, but their engagement should also improve the preconditions for online casino and be positive for Catena Media.”

Galaxy remains “well positioned” for Macau gaming concession

After posting its Q2 results (see later), Galaxy Chairman Lui Che Woo has said the casino group is still “well positioned” and prepared to bid for one of Macau’s new gaming licences.

He stated: “We are well positioned to compete for one of Macau’s gaming concessions and look forward to the completion of the concession bidding process by year end.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen Macau subjected to intense restrictions, in line with China’s zero-Covid policy, which has led to Galaxy stalling on its Phase 3 opening date – something it says will open based on prevailing market conditions of the time.

ACMA wants ISPs to block illegal gambling and affiliates

The Australia Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has told ISPs (internet service providers) to make more of an effort to block illegal offshore gambling and affiliate sites.

During a recent investigation, the ACMA concluded a number of sites were operating outside of the Interactive Gambling Act, including Casino Moons, Extra Vegas, Winnerama and Win Paradise – all of which it has said should be blocked by ISPs.

Since it sent its first blocking request in 2019, the ACMA has managed to successfully block 568 gambling and affiliate sites found to be illegal.

Trio report Q2 results

Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) has reported it has dropped 56% in revenue annually, totalling HK$2.4bn ($310m) in its Q2 results – and its adjusted EBITDA dropped into minus numbers with a final figure of HK$-384m, against 2021’s HK$1.13bn.  

Meanwhile, Studio City International Holdings also suffered revenue losses in its Q2 results, which reported a negative $1.9m figure against the 2021 Q2 total of $31.2m. Furthermore, Studio City’s EBITDA sharply fell in annual contrast, finishing with negative $40.2m.

Lastly, Melco Resorts and Entertainment also reported a severe loss of 48%, with its Q2 revenue totalling $296.1m. Much like MGM China, Wynn Macau and SJM Holdings, Melco has felt the pain of China’s zero Covid policy, with Macau’s lockdowns inhibiting the province’s footfall, thereby its gambling trade.

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