The future Thai casino sector could eat into Singapore’s casino revenues by as much as a quarter according to research by Maybank.
Maybank analyst Samuel Yin Shao Yang believes the birth of Thailand’s casino industry could ‘supercharge’ Thailand’s tourism sector taking Chinese visitation away from Singapore and Malaysia.
Singapore could be especially at risk due to foreign players accounting for up to 75 per cent of Singapore’s gaming revenue.
Mr. Yin said: “We do not expect many Malaysians and Indonesians to visit Thai IRs over the Singaporean ones should Thailand proceed to liberalise its IR industry due to deep personal and commercial ties between the three countries. We would expect many Chinese to visit Thai IRs over the Singaporean ones should Thailand proceed to liberalise its IR industry. Thailand is already very popular with Chinese tourists even without IRs currently. We believe that the SG$1.5bn or five per cent of 2019 Singapore GGR derived from Chinese visitors could be as risk should Thai IRs materialise.”
“We fear that Thai IRs could seriously impact Singaporean IRs negatively if they do materialize,” he added. “To exacerbate things, recall that MBS and RWS have to reinvest at least SG$4.5bn (US$3.3bn) each into their IRs until as late as 2027. Should more tourists not be forthcoming, we fear that the financial viability of ‘MBS 2.0’ and ‘RWS 2.0’ will be called into question. To put things into perspective, SG$4.5b is only eight per cent of MBS’ parent, Las Vegas Sand’s market capitalisation but a much larger 38 per cent of Genting Singapore’s market capitalisation. Thus, the threat of Thai IRs is more clear and present to Genting Singapore.
“Then again, the end-game could turn out differently as the Singaporean government will likely go back to the drawing board if Thai IRs materialize, to counter/soften the impact on its tourism/gaming industry. We do expect the return of Chinese visitors to Singapore to impact the operations and earnings of the Singaporean integrated resorts.”