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Summer12_G&L.qxd 6/17/12 10:27 AM Page 40 INTERNATIONAL GAMING Bill Healey SOUTH EAST ASIA GAMING GROWTH 2012 FOCUS: CAMBODIA & VIETNAM A region with vibrant The story of Singapore as it relates to gaming is integrated resorts designed to attract a broad- towns and cities, dynamic already rather well known. Both Las Vegas er clientele. Cambodia’s first casino resort, cultural and religious tra- Sands and Genting operate in Singapore, and NagaWorld, opened in 1995 as the finest ditions, exotic cuisines, invested over US$5 billion each in their inte- integrated casino hotel in Indochina, rivaling mountains and pristine grated casino resorts. Their performance has other top casinos in the region. beaches, Southeast Asia been enormous, with gross gaming revenue for offers a diversity of experi- the market exceeding a US$4 billion run-rate. Nagaworld is found amidst the picturesque ences for the travel enthusi- terrain of the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers in ast. With reasonable infrastructure, destina- Two countries with upcoming five-star inte- the vibrant Cambodian capitol of Phnom tions only hours apart by air, and some of the grated casino resorts include Cambodia and Penh, a city rich in Khmer history. best hotels in the world, it’s attracting travelers Vietnam: According to legend, NagaWorld derived its in significantly growing numbers. name from the mythical fable of a 7-headed Cambodia dragon or “Naga.” The majestic dragon was Southeast Asia is a relatively small geographic One of the more dynamic casino development believed to be residing in the rivers and area including Brunei, Cambodia, Timor Leste, opportunities in the region is that of guarding the entrance to Phnom Penh. The Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua Cambodia. Boasting more than 25 legal casi- tale revealed its only sighting during the New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore and nos in this small nation of 15 million people, appearance of a rainbow and was thus consid- Thailand. Though fragmented by diverse cul- Cambodia’s chief gaming market has been on ered very fortunate. Similar to the pot of ture, language, religion and currencies, they do tourists from the bordering countries of gold at the end of a rainbow, NagaWorld is maintain a relatively strong commercial bond Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. likened to a promising symbol of new begin- through the Association of Southeast Asian nings and prosperity. Nations (ASEAN). However, as the country continues to stabilize after decades of political chaos, casino devel- With a multi-faceted 8-story wing dedicated Southeast Asia is currently experiencing rapid opers are moving ahead with more ambitious to entertainment, NagaWorld guests enjoy economic growth while at the same time show- ing signs of increasing inflation. In fact, Vietnam has been grappling with inflation issues for over the last year. Southeast Asian currency values have also been increasing in value, against the U.S. dollar in particular. This has mainly been due to the massive investment in the region. All of this economic growth has resulted in something that is highly valued by the casino gaming industry: disposable income. As these economies become awash in monetary liquidi- ty, so do the consumers. As the people become wealthier and well-informed on tourism options, their demand for casino gaming enter- tainment grows. 40 GAMING & LEISURE SUMMER 2012 702.547.4545
Summer12_G&L.qxd 6/17/12 10:27 AM Page 41 SOUTH EAST ASIA GAMING GROWTH 2012 FOCUS: CAMBODIA & VIETNAM the exquisitely themed public gaming halls, karaoke lounges, dedicated spa and gaming machines. The combined offering of more than 500 luxurious Deluxe Rooms and plush Suites in the 14-storey hotel wing provide lav- ish comforts and an invigorating time of dis- covery, where an extend stay is the norm. Among the planned market expansion is the new Thansur Bokor Highlands Resort on Cambodia’s southern coast. The site has had its soft opening in April 2012, and is expect- ed to officially open in mid-year. The 1,200- acre resort site is notable for its location along a cliffs edge nearly 3,600 feet above sea level. It includes a former French colonial hotel, built in 1917, that became a casino before it was abandoned during Cambodias civil wars. Developed by a division of Sokimex Group, the casino resort will include 418 rooms, a convention center, spa facilities, and an edu- development. According to a report by Halong Bay in the north and Ho Tram in the tainment center for children. (Sokimex Group Merrill Lynch, the country boasts one of the south. At present, the MGM Grand Ho Tram is a Cambodian conglomerate that controls fastest growth rates in the region of million- is the sole site under construction, slated to mush of the country’s oil industry). A cham- aires, providing additional incentive for out- open in 2013. pionship golf course designed by Arnold side gaming and leisure investors. Palmer is currently in the plans. The first stage for the five-star MGM Grand Tourism statistics for the first three months Ho Tram will offer 541luxury guest rooms, Despite protests from advocacy groups that (January – March 2012) indicate internation- world-class amenities, a conference centre, and worry about crime and forced relocation of al arrivals reached 1,873,726, representing a a spectacular gaming area. The second phase residents, the Cambodian government has 24.5% growth the same period last year. On will incorporate a new tower with 549 addi- been approving new casino development at a average, statistics put the growth of tourism tional guest rooms, brining the total to 1100 rather rapid rate. Reports show that casinos at 18% per year for the past few years, boost- five-star hotel rooms. generated $20 million in tax revenue last year, ing the interest of international investors. a 25% increase over 2010. In the high-growth Asean region, Cambodia With quite a few years in gaming, Vietnam is a and Vietnam are improving their status as Casino developers have been looking intently country well versed in the intricacies of the gaming destinations with the addition of at Sihanoukville on the southern coast, and industry, as well as the competitive dynamics of world-class integrated casino resorts. Siem Reap, the site of Cambodia’s best known the Asian region. In an effort to assure foreign tourist attraction, the Angkor Wat temple. gaming investors, the government is in the Based in Bali, Bill has been consulting, process of drafting a Gaming Decree that will installing and supporting solutions in the glob- Vietnam bring clarity to the existing market structure. al golf and leisure industry since 1982. He has Having a population nearing 91 million, been involved with over 1000 systems installa- Vietnam is one of the most populous countries The government has been considering multi- tions in 40+ countries from North America to in Southeast Asia, providing a unique market ple sites for large integrated casino resorts Africa to Asia & Australia. opportunity for both casino and tourism including DaNang on the central coast, Southeast Asia is currently experiencing rapid economic growth while at the same time showing signs of increasing inflation. In fact, Vietnam has been grappling with inflation issues for over the last year. Southeast Asian currency values have also been increasing in value, against the U.S. dollar in particular. G & L G A M I N G & H O S P I TA L I T Y AWA R D S D U E A U G U S T 1 - S U B M I T Y O U R PA C K E T V I A T H E G & L W E B S I T E ! 41