In order to rank the 50 most powerful people in Asian gaming, the panel considered more than 80 candidates. These five are the people knocking on the door of the Power 50 and those we currently consider the most likely new entrants next year. Although we did rank these five people 51 through 55, we’ve listed them below in alphabetical order. You’ll just have to guess who came in at number 51!
CHAIRMAN AND CEO
AS head of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Andrea Domingo finds herself in the unusual position of being both regulator and operator. It is under her operator hat that she makes this list, with PAGCOR’s 46 casinos helping push the bureau’s GGR up by 9.3% in 1H19 to Php36.6 billion (US$711 million). Domingo has also overseen the implementation and tightening of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators scheme, expected to bring in around Php8 billion (US$155 million) in taxes and fees in 2019.
CHAIRMAN of Donaco since 2004, Stuart McGregor has enjoyed a front row seat to the company’s journey for the past 15 years but the last 12 months have undoubtedly been the most challenging. Since the turn of the year, Donaco has faced an array of legal battles with the former vendor of its Cambodian casino, had a crime syndicate threaten customers of its Vietnam property Aristo as they crossed the nearby border from China and farewelled the company’s founder Joey Lim from the board in a dramatic shareholder move. But McGregor is adamant that Donaco’s assets are strong and, with a fresh board now in place, will be hoping to reap the benefits in 2020.
CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR
SRI LANKA’S richest man owns three of the nation’s five casino licenses, operating Bally’s Colombo, Bellagio Colombo, and MGM Colombo, but his plans to build a US$200 million integrated resort in Queensbury was knocked on the head by the government in 2017. That shouldn’t faze him too much for the time being, with Perera continuing to benefit from tight controls of casino gaming in neighboring India.
ONE of Sri Lanka’s casino “kings” with two of its five casino licenses in his control (the other three belong to Dhammika Perera), Rank Holdings Chairman Ravi Wijeratne has long been one of the country’s most powerful men with interests in everything from real estate and finance to hydropower, logistics and shipping terminals. He purchased his first casino, Star Dust – also Sri Lanka’s largest – in 1994 before building a second called Casino Marina Colombo soon after. His net worth is estimated at well over US$500 million.
PRESIDENT AND CEO
Grand Korea Leisure
YOO TAE-YEOL took over Grand Korea Leisure in June 2018 but fixing the state-controlled, foreigner-only operator’s falling casino revenues appears no simple task. GKL operates two casinos in Seoul and one in Busan under its Seven Luck brand, yet continues to fall behind its main competitor in the market, Paradise Group, which has the advantage of a sparkling new integrated resort in Incheon. GKL reported a 2.3% decline in casino sales through September 2019 to KRW360.13 billion, coming off a 26.2% fall in profit in the second quarter.
For the full list of 2019 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.