Asia round-up: Singapore's annual revenue soars, Macau tightens Covid restrictions & more

A total of SG$9.2bn (US$6.78bn) was spent on Singapore gambling over the last financial year, on games such as football, 4-D and Toto. This is the largest amount placed on such games in the past decade, as Singapore sports and lottery betting rose 40% annually.

asia news roundup singapore 4

A spokesman for the Tote Board, Singapore’s gaming revenue channel, stated that the sums wagered on lotteries and sports increased due to the country lifting Covid-19 restrictions. The Tote Board operates Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club which runs horseracing, football and motor racing betting.

All Singapore outlets were forced to close their doors from 7 April to 1 June 2020 due to the pandemic. Singapore Pools resumed its operations in June 2020 – improvements made to its online betting site were cited as a reason for this revenue increase, according to counsellors.

We Care Community Services Executive Director Tham Yuen Han referred to the increase in global football matches, amid the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, as another reason for this 40% jump.

Macau Government tightens zero-Covid policies on casino staff again

Following a widespread series of protests against the Chinese Government over its zero-Covid 19 policy, Macau casinos have shown no sign of letting up stringent rules imposed on staff. The Macau Government announced on Tuesday that front-line casino staff would have to undertake a nucleic acid test every two days.

This was a halving of the previous four-day testing requirement and an affirmation of Macau’s commitment to zero-Covid. Casino workers are also required to complete a rapid antigen test every two days.

Workers must then report their negative test results to the authorities which will then be registered on their individualised Macau-issued electronic health codes.

This news does not bode well for those hoping for a return to any sort of normalcy in Macau casinos.

Casino operator Genting Malaysia leads support for Empire Resorts' stock

A Delaware-based Genting Malaysia subsidiary, Genting ER II, plans to buy MYR$457.5m ($100m) worth of stock of the US casino operator Empire Resorts. This follows the striking of a deal with Kien Huat Realty III Ltd, the family trust of Lim Kok Thay, who is the controlling shareholder of the Genting group.

This latest purchase means that Genting-tied support for Empire Resorts has now reached $624m. Huat Realty holds a 51% stake in Empire Resorts’ common stock, with the remaining 49% held by Genting ER II.

Empire Resorts has several US gaming businesses including Resorts World Catskills and Resorts World Hudson Valley, both located in New York.

Genting Malaysia said in Monday’s filing that since its privatisation in November 2019, Empire Resorts’ performance “has been on an upward trajectory.” This explains its heavy investment in the US operator, which it sees as a gateway into the New York betting market.

Four Macau concessionaires seeking $17m in damages during Tak Chun trial

Former Tak Chun Group Chairman Levo Chan continues to undergo trial for allegedly allowing under-the-table betting to take place in Macau VIP rooms. Four Macau casino operators – Wynn Macau The Venetian, SJM and MGM are seeking damages amounting to around MOP$125m ($17m).

Meanwhile, the Macau Government is also asking for $16.8m in damages from the Tak Chun Group.

Chan was arrested in January and is one of nine defendants in this case. He has been charged with criminal association, illegal gambling, fraud and loan sharking among other allegations. The trial will continue next Monday.

Missed a big gambling industry story in Asia? Don't worry, Gambling Insider has you covered with our Asia round-up.       

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