Singapore set to overtake Las Vegas as second-biggest gambling market, group says

MACAU — Asia will be home to the world’s two biggest casino markets as early as this year, with Singapore set to take the No. 2 spot from Las Vegas, a U.S. gambling industry group said Tuesday.

Frank Fahrenkopf, president of the American Gaming Association, said Singapore raked in $5.1 billion in gaming revenue last year and could bring in up to $6.4 billion this year. The city-state opened its first two casinos last year.

Las Vegas, which lost its No. 1 spot to Macau in 2006, earned $5.8 billion in casino revenue last year, but is a mature market with little potential for big growth.

Fahrenkopf made the prediction at the start of a gambling industry conference in Macau.

“It’s going to be an extremely good year,” in Singapore and Macau, he said. Casino revenue in Macau will probably grow 25 to 50 percent this year, Fahrenkopf said.

Gambling revenue in Macau, the world’s most lucrative gambling market, hit $23.5 billion last year and monthly revenue has grown by at least 42 percent from February to May.

Fahrenkopf warned that Macau faces several problems that could put a damper on continued growth, including a labor shortage and lack of infrastructure as well as a government cap on the number of new gambling tables until 2013.

A possible crackdown on so-called junket operators could also limit expansion, he said. High-rollers from mainland China coming to Macau on junkets are a big source of cash for casinos, accounting in some cases for up to 70 percent of revenues.

Fahrenkopf said the government may change the way junkets operate, which would create uncertainty for casino companies in Macau that have stock listings in Hong Kong or the United States.

“One thing that investors don’t like is uncertainty. The whole junket question and what’s going to happen in the future creates uncertainty,” he said.

Junket operators in Macau help facilitate travel by high-spending mainland Chinese to the former Portuguese colony and lend them money for their gambling. Debts are collected once the gamblers return to China.



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  1. The thing is this: Las Vegas locals love high quality food at super low prices. Plus, they love free rooms given away by the hotels to them so they can accomodate their friends when they're visiting town. However, Vegas locals don't like to play on the Strip and also, they don't like to play the tight machines that are widely spread these days on almost all casino floors.
    The average American had to learn the lesson after 2007 and since then things are not like they used to be. Money to burn is not so easy for grabs anymore. People have become wiser and know better than jumping to the next available ATM and maxing out their credit card, as credit companies no longer give away new credit cards to in-debt people without background check. We know all that already.

    So, the locals' market has pretty much dried out and on the Strip, casinos are suffering too because of the high over-offer compared to the reduced demand.

    Asians have what they need by visiting Macau and Singapore, they don't need to fly across the Pacific Ocean any longer just to get their baccarat games. MGM, Wynn and LVS have figured this out long time ago when they decided to build their casinos in Macau, so they knew what was happening.
    Matter-of-fact, the golden days of Vegas as a monopoly casino market are gone long time ago. Vegas will survive, but at a much lower level than the big casinos on the Strip would ever have thought. For us tourists, this situation may be of our advantage for a while as long as the casinos are offering these ultra low room rates, but once more and more casinos will go bankrupt (Riviera says hello), prices eventually will go up again and a smaller casino market will be profitable. Perhaps this will be in 10 years from now, who knows...

    From Switzerland