Asia round-up: Cambodia clears house while Macau limps on

Macau sees gross gaming revenue (GGR) rise after months of pain

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The embattled gambling province of Macau, which has been subject to China’s zero-Covid policy and repeated lockdowns, has posted a 35% monthly increase in GGR – totalling MOP2.96bn (US$366.3m).

Though the news is good for the industry, in what has been a very difficult year for Macau, the cold reality of the situation remains that it still finished 50% down on September 2021. The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau’s (DICJ) report also showed that the third quarter has been catastrophic for Macau casinos, with MOP5.55bn being posted – when in 2021, it topped out at MOP18.76 billion.

However, there was some positive news for the province, after Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng announced that electronic visas (eVisas) and package tours will be reinstated in November 2022 – which have been suspended since January 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Where the streets have no games

An eight-day operation by Cambodian police has led 90% of the country's illegal gambling businesses to stop trading.

On Friday, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior Sok Phal told Preah Sihanouk Province Governor Kuoch Chamroeun that the ministry will continue to rid the streets of illegal gambling sites, saying: “We all know that we have busted hundreds of places, and now gambling has died out, with more than 90% of illegal dens closed down.”

Over 1,000 people were arrested during the operation, and Phnom Penh Deputy Governor Khliang Huot explained that a team effort is required to fully eradicate illegal gambling in the country: “Illegal pawnshops are a source of crime, gambling and affect the livelihoods of low-income people.”

Universal Entertainment and 26 Capital Acquisition extend agreement

The contractual termination date of the agreement between UE Resorts and 26 Capital has been extended by mutual consent, to finalise the merger of the two.

A statement from 26 Capital said: “The extension of the termination date illustrates the commitment on the part of both parties to successfully close the merger transaction contemplated by the agreement. The amendment will provide additional time to complete the transaction. Both parties remain dedicated to working to close the transaction as expeditiously as possible.”

Meanwhile, 26 Capital Chairman and CEO Jason Ader commented on the extension, saying: “I remain extremely excited about this transaction and the opportunity for our investors to participate in one of the fastest growing Asian gaming markets."

The original date for the merger to be complete was set as 1 October 2022; however, now the date has been extended until 1 October 2023.

Ainsworth appoints new CFO

Ainsworth Game Technology has appointed Lynn Mah as its new CFO, a move that will come into effect from 1 January 2023.

Currently, Lynn is the Group Finance Manager at the company and joined in 2007.

Ainsworth Chairman Mr Danny Gladstone said: “We congratulate Lynn on her appointment to the role of CFO. I am confident she has the necessary attributes to provide significant value to the Group in her new role as CFO.”

India asks TV, news and OTT platforms to stop showing online betting ads

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry in India has asked TV channels, OTT (over-the-top) services and news websites to stop showing promotions for online betting websites after many ignored a prior advisory in June.

Now, the Ministry is threatening punitive action against any that don’t adhere to the latest warning, as gambling is illegal in most parts of India.

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