8 Mins Read
The dynamic gaming news space has been occupied with stories of new developments, new acquisitions, closures and denials lately.
The leading casino operator in the country, Delta Corp continues to post a healthy revenue graph chiefly due to its casino operations in Goa and India. Delta Corp posted healthy Q2 net revenue profits, to the tune of â‚¹2 Billion showing a marked 39% improvement over the same period last year.
Meanwhile, Mumbai-based social gaming and eSports company Nazara Technologies Ltd is reported to be in the final stages of negotiations to acquire four companies in India and Africa.
In Philippines, the gambling regulator, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has announced Playtech distributor, Montford Inc. to be the country’s only certified gaming software provider for Philippine Offshore Gambling Operator (POGO) licensees.
In other news, Las Vegas–based casino Lucky Dragon has announced its official closure and failing to find a buyer, the casino will be up for auction in October.
Japan was hit by a wave of fresh rumors over US President Donald Trump’s alleged conversation with Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe where he is rumored to have promoted Casino giant, Las Vegas Sands (SVS) Corp. Following a recent report on the same by US-based nonprofit organization ProPublica, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga spoke to media representatives and denied such claims.
Delta Corp Posts Double-Digit Profit Growth in Q2
The ramifications of the increase in casino license fee by the Goa government may have been adverse for a number of offshore casinos operational in Goa, but for the Delta Corp that runs four casinos in the state, it has been just the opposite. The company which is India’s only BSE listed company engaged in the casino industry, continues to post an energetic growth.
According to a company’s report released on Monday detailing revenue and profit figures for the fiscal quarter Q2 ending September 30, the company’s net revenue grew 39% at â‚¹2,014 Million on year-on-year (YoY) basis, while its consolidated net profit showed a double digit growth, i.e. 11% YoY, up to â‚¹481 Million as compared to â‚¹433 Million in the same quarter a year ago.
“The Goa government in the current period has notified revised license fees for onshore and offshore casinos operating in Goa. As a result, the impact of the license fee in the current quarter is â‚¹60 million,” an official statement issued by Delta Corp stated.
Delta Corp operates the Casino Deltin Denzong in Sikkim, apart from four casino properties in Goa, namely, Deltin Royale, Deltin JAQK, Deltin Caravela and Deltin Suites. It also runs an online skill gaming segment that includes India’s largest poker site, Adda52.com and operates an integrated resort in Daman that is yet to start casino operations.
While Delta’s casino gaming operations generated a gross revenue of â‚¹2.03 Billion, nearly 15% higher than the fiscal Q1 result, Delta estimated that its Goa fees and taxes would rise to â‚¹650 Million in the current fiscal year, from â‚¹260 Million the previous year.
According to Emkay Research analysts, Delta was gaining market share from smaller land-based casinos post the disruption caused by the monumental license fee hike by the government.
The positive report sent the Delta Corp’s shares on a surge. According to a report posted on Business Standard dated October 16, the company’s shares rallied 8% to â‚¹245 on the BSE in intra-day trade. In the past three trading days, shares of Delta Corp surged 16%, as compared to a 3.3% rise in the S&P BSE Sensex.
Mumbai-based Nazara Technologies Ltd, a social gaming and eSports firm seems firmly on the path of expansion into the real-money gaming market.
According to an Economic Times report dated October 15, the company is looking into acquiring several firms in preparation for its public market debut slated for February, 2019.
Nazara Ltd, that has Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, IIFL and WestBridge Capital as its institutional investors, is reported to be in final stages of discussions to take over at least four companies in India and Africa.
The company is also seeking to raise over â‚¹1,000 Crores in the issue, and has earmarked â‚¹50-75 Crores for the acquisitions, that are expected to close by October end.
Notably, the firm acquired a majority stake in e-sports platform NODWIN Gaming early in 2018. It is also a stakeholder in the Halaplay fantasy sports portal and is the financial backer of companies such as Mastermind Sports, Moong Labs and Crossgate Solutions.
In June this year, Nazara invested and purchased 70% shares of NZWorld Kenya Ltd, a sports gambling operator in Kenya that holds a license issued by Kenya’s Betting Control and Licensing Board.
With India’s online gaming industry that was an estimated â‚¹4,380 Crores in 2017-18 projected to grow at an annual compounded rate of more than 22%, there has been a rapid rise in interest in the sector. Nazara will be the one gaming company in India to go public and it’s public offering will be overseen by ICICI Securities and Edelweiss Financial Services.
UK-listed technology supplier Playtech has been anointed as the sole provider of RNG casino games to the online gambling licensees in Philippines.
It has been reported that in a memorandum dated September 26, the country’s gambling regulator, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) announced that Montford Inc. has been certified as a gaming software provider for Philippine Offshore Gambling Operator (POGO) licensees.
Montford is a distributor of RNG-based games developed by PlayTech and according to the PAGCOR memorandum, “To date, only Montford Inc. has been issued an accreditation and authority to operate as a Gaming Software Provider. Thus, only the RNG-based games distributed by Montford are allowed to be used by our POGO licensees.”
This new restriction is effective immediately, PAGCOR noted, and any POGO licensee, “found to be using games developed by an unauthorized service provider, or those who engage the services of a gaming software provider not accredited by PAGCOR, shall be imposed the corresponding demerits and administrative penalties.”
While the short term penalty for use of RNG games other than Playtech is that 20 demerit points would be imposed on the concerned POGO licensee, a continued non-compliance would warrant the temporary cessation of operations, and eventually, cancellation of the offshore gaming license of the defaulting POGO licensees.
Since PAGCOR has not clarified whether it will be issuing accreditation to other RNG game providers, for now, Playtech holds the monopoly over the POGO market in the country.
When it was built in Las Vegas, Lucky Dragon was touted as the to-be hotspot for Asian players. Two years since it opened however, the casino is non functional and on way to be auctioned this month.
The Lucky Dragon was developed by Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino LLC at a cost of $160 Million. Themed on Asian culture, the casino interiors bore a distinct Asian feel. The project completed in 2016, with the developers hoping to pull in Asian gamblers. The casino was serviced by multi-lingual staff with a clear Chinese first, English second policy.
However, shortly after launching amid fanfare in December 2016, the casino faced financial hurdles. It sought a bailout from Nevada but the request was denied. Subsequent attempts to rope in additional investors also failed, forcing the casino management to file for bankruptcy in February 2017.
A month prior to this, casino officials had declared that they would be closing the casino temporarily so to reorganize it. The casino never reopened thereafter and the management began to look for potential buyers. However, the casino did not receive a single bid. In an auction scheduled in February, owner of D Hotel and Casino Derek Stevens showed up. However, Stevens later clarified that he was just an interested observer.
Notably, a large chunk of the funds for the project had come in from Asian investors, a big number of whom invested everything they had to the casino, in exchange for permanent US residency.
The deal was part of an immigrant program that awarded residency to individuals in exchange for large financial investments. With the casino now on the verge of being auctioned, these investors have not only lost their money, they may very well lose out on their chances to migrate to the US.
A top Japanese official has come out in denial of recent rumors that US President Donald Trump asked Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2017, to “strongly consider” permitting one of his biggest sponsors, Las Vegas Sands (LVS) Corp to operate an Integrated Resort (IR) in Japan.
Talking to the scribes during a government session last Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga emphasized that recent rumors that have surfaced after a ProPublica report on the same was posted, are incorrect. He pointed out that the Prime Minister had already denied them in July and claimed that the so-called conversation between Trump and Abe never took place.
Notably, the rumors first surfaced in June after a story making these claims was published by the Nikkei Asian Review. Abe responded by denying them.
However, an investigative report released last week by US-based nonprofit organization, ProPublica has added fresh fuel to the fire. According to the ProPublica report, Trump had on meeting Abe at his private Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in February 2017, mentioned a bid by his major benefactor and casino tycoon, Sheldon Adelson who runs LSV Corp, allowing the company to make a foray into the Japanese market.
Trump allegedly told Abe that LVS was an ideal candidate for an Integrated Resort (IR) and its founder and CEO Adelson was the right man to the lead the way in Japan. The report claimed that Abe didn’t respond to Trump’s pitch and said, “Thank you for the information,” before moving on to another issue.
It is no secret that Abe’s Liberal Democratic party and its pro-casino allies have been in a fierce war with the opposition over legalizing casinos in Japan. In December 2016, Abe’s party passed a broad bill for the legalization of casinos and establishment of integrated casino project in the country.
At least a dozen companies, including big names like MGM and Genting are reported to be in contention to obtain a casino license in Japan. With Suga reiterating the Japanese Prime Minister’s categorical denial of Trump’s askance for favor, the clouds of doubt over a fair system in casino licensing in Japan may lift now.