Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.
There isn’t a more dynamic commercial casino gaming entertainment marketplace in the world today than that in Asia, with Macau being the centerpiece of the industry’s growth and development. This dynamism helped account for the tremendous success of the second annual AGA co-sponsored Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) that welcomed more than 5,000 visitors from across the globe during its run in Macau June 3-5.
I think it’s fitting that this show in particular is one of the first such events to make a long-term commitment in Macau. We know how important it is for Macau to grow its convention and meetings business, and I’m proud that gaming, the pioneering industry in this economy, also will be a pioneer in generating buzz about Macau as a premier meetings and exhibition destination for ANY global industry.
Attendees at G2E Asia visited exhibitions erected by 175 companies from 24 nations spread across 8,000 square feet of space at the Venetian Macao’s Cotai Strip Convention and Exhibition Center. They also participated in the educational offerings of a conference that featured three days of sessions on topics that spoke to the needs of the market in Asia.
At the conference, the results of the inaugural installment of the G2E Asia Future Watch Series – an original research series dedicated to examining the Asian gaming market – were announced. A panel of leading casino industry executives, analysts and academics, selected for their understanding of the Asian casino markets, looked at a number of trends and, among other findings, had some interesting observations about the market here in Macau:
- Respondents were evenly split in estimating the impact of the increased number of casino resort destinations in Asia on business in Macau over the next 10 years, with 43 percent predicting that Macau will be helped, and 43 percent convinced it will be hurt.
- A slim majority of 52 percent reported that the 10-year moratorium on the further issuance of new casino licenses announced by the Macau government a few months ago is unlikely to last the full term, while 48 percent forecast that it will remain in place for the next decade.
- A majority of 61 percent said the open-ended cap on the installation of new tables or slots at existing operations also announced by the government will be in place for less than a year.
Perhaps most intriguing was the list of challenges facing Macau that were identified by the Future Watch panel. Among these:
- The lack of usable land area was pinpointed by 74 percent as a serious issue.
- When asked to name the most serious threat to future success, 57 percent identified “infrastructure being able to keep up” with growth as the most serious threat.
- Labor shortages captured 17 percent, while 9 percent pointed to rising prices and government intervention as significant challenges.
Looking at the bigger picture, the panel reviewed prospects for regional growth. A majority agreed that gaming revenues at Asian casinos will surpass those of their U.S. counterparts by 2012. Panelists also predicted that Taiwan, Japan and Thailand were likely to be the next nations in the region to legalize casinos.
In order to nourish the progress the Asian gaming industry is making – as well as meet the challenges that test any growing industry – it is vital for all the elements of the community to come together, discuss and plan for the future. This was top of mind as we planned and designed G2E Asia, seeking out valuable input from the Asian gaming community.
Indeed, it is our desire and commitment that G2E Asia be an event “by the industry and for the industry.” Those aren’t just words we like to say. They represent a commitment to work with community and regional leaders to make this event one that truly satisfies the needs of this market. G2E Asia really belongs to the region’s gaming industry, and input from the local community will ensure the event reflects its strength and character.
With local and regional input and cooperation, G2E Asia will continue to expand so that is the bellwether not just for gaming shows in Asia, but tradeshows around the world. But it’s not just about being bigger – it’s about being better, delivering the stellar insights and education content from the leading minds of the industry, and offering sales and purchasing opportunities that are second to none.
Innovation and leadership by commercial casino gaming in Asia have already caused the world to sit up and take notice, and there is a great deal more success on the horizon. G2E Asia can help drive that success and be the forum to lead the way. In fact, my conversations with business leaders, government officials and attendees at the exhibition and conference make it clear that the Asian gaming community is willing and eager to come together at events like G2E Asia to keep the gaming industry moving forward.
I look forward to nurturing these relationships as we continue to grow not only this show, but the business opportunities in the region, together.