Casino

Betting on Brazil – The opportunities are plentiful but challenges lie ahead

Betting on Brazil

Latin America continues to present itself as one of the greatest opportunities for gaming expansion. While it is home to a number of existing markets, there continue to be more opportunities for existing and new market players as expansion and reform take place in the Southern Hemisphere.

One of the greatest opportunities in Latin America remains in Brazil, due to its size, scope and potential offerings from both and expansion and reform perspective. However, the market still has its challenges as it considers next steps for lottery, sports betting, integrated resorts, and other potential forms of gaming.

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Windy City Gaming: Chicago will finally plant its flag for a casino development

Casinos in urban environments, not always the norm, have offered challenges in certain jurisdictions.

Major markets such as Philadelphia have had casinos near downtown for years. Pittsburgh and Detroit also feature casino gaming in downtown settings. The Washington, D.C. market, with MGM National Harbor, has also made an impact. But in recent years, more developers have embraced urban environments to meld properties into the fabric of the greater communities they serve. Two of the more recent examples were in Massachusetts, with MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor.

Some of the greatest opportunities for gaming expansion in the United States remain in urban settings. For years, New York, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas and Houston have been seen as potential expansion sites. But the most immediate opportunity exists in Chicago, which will locate a gaming development within the city itself.

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2020 Trends: Latin America

The gaming market throughout Latin America continues to emerge. While gaming has been a strong form of entertainment, Latin America can be a mystery to some that have not followed it as closely. Like Asia, it remains one of the great opportunities for expansion in the industry on a wide scale, from sports betting to further development of brick-and-mortar facilities from Mexico to Brazil to Uruguay.

Many of these governments at all levels continue to face challenges as they had relied on gaming as a source of tax revenue prior to the Covid-19 pandemic as revenue is still rebounding. This has further put burdens on governments, as those employed in gaming have also struggled in 2020 with facilities operating under limited function post-shutdown and in some cases will remain closed until the end of 2020.

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2020 Trends: Japan

Like the rest of the world, the development of integrated resorts in Japan has been significantly stalled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Japan is just beginning to reemerge as it is now starting to allow foreigners back into the country. While many speculated that 2020 would be a robust year for the integrated resorts, it looks like Covid, like the rest of the world, will push IRs back into 2021 as things finally start to move down the road.

Earlier this year, Japan transitioned from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stepping down for health reasons to the current Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Suga, who was Abe’s top lieutenant, has been a strong proponent of the integrated resorts initiative. His ascendancy was the ideal outcome in terms of the succession from Abe. Suga will not be a caretaker prime minister and wants to leave his own stamp over the next year coming into a fresh election next September.

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Southern Exposure: Why gaming in the South is one of the last opportunities in the U.S.

The United States hosts a diverse set of gaming options from coast to coast. The gaming-rich Northeast continues to be dominated by strong regional destination casinos such as Encore Boston Harbor, Mohegan Sun, Borgata and Wind Creek Bethlehem. The Midwest remains the focus of the riverboat gaming. Tribal gaming also prevails across the country from North Carolina to Oklahoma and all along the West Coast.

The southern portion of the United States remains largely untouched when it comes to casino gaming. One of the many reasons for this over the years has been the long-held values and deep religious beliefs within these communities that have had an aversion to casino gaming.

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Strip Reset: COVID-19 is definitely challenging, but does the crisis present opportunities for a Vegas makeover?

Las Vegas soared until recent years, but we’ve reached the tipping point, where it’s necessary for the Strip to redefine itself again. Las Vegas is like no other place in the world. It’s the entertainment and sports capital of the world. It has the most amazing resorts. It just needs to remember our industry’s roots, redeliver on customer service, and provide value.

Covid-19 has devastated the industry and the greater Las Vegas economy. With the resulting industry shutdown, the city must take the opportunity to develop a strategy to reopen, reinvigorate and recapture its guests.

For the first time in well over a decade, both Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts, which between them operate 18 Las Vegas Strip resorts, have new leadership teams. These teams are comprised of seasoned casino industry professionals—not outsiders from professions other than hospitality—who have the ability to make these changes.

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Research Brief: Understanding Casino Operations

Given the uncertainties of coronavirus disease (“COVID-19”), investors are looking to understand the general operating parameters of a given casino operation and fixed versus variable expenses. This document provides detail on the intricacies of casino operations from a revenue and expense standpoint, including gaming revenues, operating expenses, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (“EBITDA”). The goal of this exercise is to provide an understanding of how these items may fluctuate between operators, as well as between jurisdictions. Additionally, this document will provide readers with an understanding of fixed versus variable expenses (for facilities that are open), allowing investors to more accurately project the performance of target properties under a variety of recovery scenarios.

The following discussion is based on Global Market Advisors’ (“GMA”) experience of reviewing hundreds of income statements from casino properties across the world. For the purposes of this analysis, GMA focused its evaluation on regional gaming operations in the United States, representing casino operations that have generated between $50 and $700 million in annual gaming revenue. Often, the only access that investors may have to operating income statements would be from those published from Nevada and New Jersey. As will be seen within this document, many departmental and overall margins vary greatly from casinos between these and other states. While many operations may have expenses that lie outside of the ranges presented in this report, the overwhelming majority of regional casinos across the United States likely fall within these ranges.

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The China Syndrome: Why the PRC’s impact on gaming throughout Asia is dependent upon many issues

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to emerge as an economic and political superpower in the world, and its actions have a direct influence on the gaming market in Asia. This goes
well beyond the borders of Macau, SAR (Special Administrative Region) that nearly 20 years ago opened up for the first time to foreign casino operators beyond Stanley Ho’s monopoly.

The reach of the PRC permeates both economically and politically into key emerging markets such as the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, South Korea, and other markets throughout the Far East (including Northeast and Southeast Asia).

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Social Safeguards: How Singapore set a new standard in addressing responsible gambling

As Singapore continues to serve as the model for IR development, it has also become one of the current models to address the promotion of responsible gaming measures and casino exclusion policies for its two integrated resorts.

At the time of inception, these cutting-edge initiatives allowed for a different model for individuals to be excluded from the casino, limited the floor size of the facilities, created a publicentity to promote responsible gaming efforts, and created partnerships with operators to work with the government in creating an environment of responsible gaming. It also introduced a casino levy for locals with the option of a daily or yearly fee.

The two operators in the market, Las Vegas Sands (Marina Bay Sands) and Genting Singapore (Resorts World Sentosa), initially had to develop internal responsible gaming education and training programs. These initiatives have continued to evolve over the course of time as more research has become available and the market has matured. The programs include an initial and annual training that offers employees the ability to understand the signs of problem gambling, as well as how to respond and support a guest. It also includes support in the form of high level specialists that offer a higher level of knowledge on responsible gaming measures and how best to handle a guest that may need further assistance.

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The Evolving Casino Marketing Landscape

Twenty years ago, there was much talk in the gaming industry of how to engage GenXers, and the potential value of this segment. As GenX is only now becoming a meaningful contributor to the industry, this conversation has now evolved into the current hype around millennials.

What allowed GenXers to become gamers is simple: they began to acquire the two key items that people need to gamble—time and money. As millennials age, we will see them gravitate toward casinos gaming as well. While the demographics of casino participation have been little changed for a generation, there have been material changes in products, channels and, importantly, methods of engaging with casino patrons.

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