Scientific Game

2017 Inside Asian Gaming Power 50: Number Four - Lim Kok Thay

Tuesday, 05 December 2017 13:20
Share
Visit us


4 Lim Kok Thay

EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN AND CEO
Genting Berhad

CHAIRMAN AND CEO
Genting Hong Kong

POWER SCORE
3,598

LAST YEAR
3

CLAIMS TO FAME
• Global reach, from Malaysia to Miami, seven seas to Las Vegas Strip – but not Macau
• Grooming son Lim Keong Hui, 33, for leadership in group founded by his father Lim Goh Tong
• Chairman and CEO of each Genting Group hospitality subsidiary

At the Japan Gaming Conference in May, every major casino operator in Asia made their case to be part of an integrated resort in the world’s third biggest economy. Except for Genting. Perhaps Lim Kok Thay and company think their work speaks for itself, and many believe it has precisely what Japan wants in an IR developer. Moreover, Genting’s absence in Macau, often seen as a glaring shortcoming, may well prove an asset in the Japan sweepstakes.

Genting spans the globe, from the original Resorts World Genting highlands retreat outside Kuala Lumpur – an inspired initiative of Lim Kok Thay’s father and group founder Lim Goh Tong – to the beaches of Bimini, from Birmingham to New York City to Manila to a trio of cruise lines. Most properties are under the Resorts World name, making it the closest thing to a global casino brand.

Of the Resorts World properties, Singapore’s RW Sentosa, with a Universal Studios theme park, world top 10 water park, massive aquarium, innovative museum, celebrity chefs, destination spa plus thriving casino despite extremely limited junket play and restricted access for locals, fits the profile of how Japan IR boosters see their dreams coming true. Genting also has history of playing well with partners – likely a requirement in Japan – notably with Philippine billionaire Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global at RW Manila.

Most important, Genting has a history of success, on track for US$5.6 billion in revenue this year, US$1.6 billion in EBITDA plus more than US$1 billion in the bank, supported by five publicly listed companies. At the core of the conglomerate that includes energy, property and plantations, Genting’s various hospitality and leisure segments accounted for 84% of revenue and 92% of EBITDA in the first half of 2017. Within that core, Singapore and Malaysia delivered 79% of revenue and 95% of EBITDA. Therein lies the ongoing imperative to expand globally.

Usually, Genting looks for situations where it will have a competitive advantage. Malaysia is a monopoly. Singapore is a duopoly. RW New York City and the upstate New York license awarded to Lim family holding company Kien Huat Realty each hold geographic exclusives. RW Manila had first mover advantage. Bimini combines Genting’s cruise and IR expertise, hoping for eventual synergy with its landholding in Miami if authorities someday approve casino gambling. In Asia, it’s making a big bet on Dream Cruises, the first tailored to the Chinese market.

Where competitive advantages erode or don’t evolve as expected, Genting will cut bait. In November last year, it exited the RW Jeju joint venture with China’s Landing International, claiming it wanted to focus on Japan, but perhaps because it surmised South Korea wouldn’t allow local players anytime soon.

That search for an edge makes Genting’s decision to develop US$4 billion RW Las Vegas so surprising. It’s difficult to see where Genting would have an advantage on the Vegas Strip justifying that size bet. That said, underestimate Lim and Genting at your peril.

To return to the full list of 2017 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.

What's new

VIDEO: Week in Review

VIDEO: Week in Review Inside Asian Gaming takes a look back at the biggest stories of the past week. Friday, 25 May 2018 06:54

Macau May GGR in line for high-teen growth

Macau May GGR in line for high-teen growth Macau is on track to report a year-on-year GGR increase of between 17% and 19% in May, say analysts, after rebounding strongly from the Labor Day holiday weekend. According to JP Morgan’s DS Kim, mass market is leading the way with growth of more than 20% year-on-year while VIP GGR is tracking in... Friday, 25 May 2018 06:36

PAGCOR says officials safe after Duterte gambling comments

PAGCOR says officials safe after Duterte gambling comments Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR says that its leaders are safe following reports this week that a number of high-ranking gaming officials were set to be fired by President Rodrigo Duterte. PAGCOR was quick to absolve itself of any link to comments made by Duterte after he asked two ranking offi... Friday, 25 May 2018 05:43

Genting Berhad sees 10% growth in 1Q18 on Malaysia, Singapore IRs

Genting Berhad sees 10% growth in 1Q18 on Malaysia, Singapore IRs Genting Berhad saw its revenue grow 10% to RM5.3 billion for the three months to 31 March 2018, boosted by its leisure and hospitality segment and in particular strong results at its flagship integrated resorts in Malaysia and Singapore. Malaysia’s Resorts World Genting (RWG) enjoyed the biggest ... Friday, 25 May 2018 04:59

Current Issue

Macau and Japan: Licensing looms large

Macau and Japan: Licensing looms large The next few years are set to be the most crucial period ever in the Asian gaming industry – one which will lay the ground rules for decades to come in the world’s largest gaming market and what’s set to become the world’s second largest. By Ben Blaschke and Andrew W Scott Macau and Japan ... Monday, 30 April 2018 12:39

Pachinko: Japan's Unlucky Loser

Pachinko: Japan's Unlucky Loser Japan’s preparations for integrated resorts are hitting pachinko harder than the actual casinos ever will. By Muhammad Cohen Japan won’t open its first integrated resort for years, if ever, but the IRs already have their first loser, the country’s unique and ubiquitous pachinko business. Pac... Monday, 30 April 2018 12:33

Responsible Gaming in Japan: Bill to be key to Japan’s Gaming Market

Responsible Gaming in Japan: Bill to be key to Japan’s Gaming Market Global Market Advisors’ Brendan D Bussman runs through the pros and cons of Japan’s problem gambling legislation. By Brendan D Bussmann As Japan continues to look at the development of integrated resorts (IR), many people engaged and following the market are focused on the IR Implementation Bi... Monday, 30 April 2018 12:28

Safety First

Safety First The International Association of Gaming Advisors (IAGA) will hold its 37th annual International Gaming Summit during G2E Asia from 14 to 16 May at Four Seasons Macao. Among the many insightful seminars and events that will comprise IAGA’s summit is a responsible gaming workshop to be held on Wedne... Monday, 30 April 2018 12:12