Gaming revenue at Singapore’s two integrated resorts, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, will grow by another 10% in 2024, buoyed by the growth of a diversified customer based outside of China, according to ratings agency Fitch.
While Singapore is already performing “above expectations” with gaming revenues 15% higher than pre-COVID levels this year, Fitch analysts said in their “Global Gaming Outlook 2024” on Thursday that they expect such growth to continue, driven by increasing foreign visitors in 2024.
In particular they note that, as of October 2023, visitor arrivals to Singapore were still 25% below 2019, primarily due to the slow recovery of the China market. However, both MBS and RWS have taken measures to address this visitor shortfall with MBS opening 1,200 renovated hotel rooms and RWS extending credit to players over and above pre-COVID levels.
Fitch’s Singapore growth forecast is mirrored across much of Asia. The agency expects Malaysia – home to Genting Malaysia’s flagship Resorts World Genting – to enjoy 9% GGR growth next year, driven by a “steady increase in domestic traffic and foreign tourists.”
And in Macau, Fitch says early 2024 comparisons will be favorable, with increasing visitation due to the return of air capacity to the Hong Kong and Macau airports supporting further growth.
This is despite concerns by North American investors regarding regulatory and political changes, such as the revamping of VIP regulations that has caused a material and potentially permanent change in the level of gaming revenue from the VIP segment.
Meanwhile, 2024 promises to remain challenging for both land-based casino and online sportsbook operators, with weakened demand due to cost of living pressures.
While Australia’s strong domestic market will provide a resilient base, land-based casinos will spend much of the year shoring up their financial profiles and compliance measures following recent regulatory actions.
Online sportsbooks will be “better able to absorb the weakness”, the analysts said, although former market leader Tabcorp may be better placed than its corporate rivals to gain market share.
“The regulatory landscape continues to evolve for betting agencies, with ongoing harmonization of regulations across states and moves to ban advertising,” Fitch said. “However, we expect the impact to differ by operator, with the changes likely to reduce structural advantages that foreign-owned online agencies have benefitted from and benefit incumbent operator, Tabcorp Limited.”