Industry Leaders Discuss Prospects for the Gaming Sector in Asia

Leading casino operators, financiers and analysts convene in Hong Kong to discuss current market and financing trends impacting the Asia gaming sector.

December 04, 2013

Hong Kong … Latham & Watkins, in conjunction with Asia Gambling Brief (AGB), a regional intelligence platform, co-hosted a senior level industry seminar on current market and financing trends facing the region’s gaming sector. The event brought together casino operators, financiers and key advisors from across Asia and the United States to discuss the outlook for the gaming industry in the region. 

Delivering the keynote address, Billy Ng, Head of Asia Gaming & Lodging Research at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, discussed the growth prospects for the gaming sector in Asia and the outlook for Macau, the world’s biggest gaming hub. “We are forecasting a period of sustained gaming revenue growth in Macau due to the significant demand and supply imbalance present in the market. Furthermore, the impact of China’s rising middle class will continue to improve revenue prospects in Macau for the foreseeable future.” 

Allen Wang, Office Managing Partner of Latham & Watkins in Beijing and a partner in Hong Kong, said: “The gaming sector is one of the region’s hottest growth areas and we expect strong growth in Asia for years to come. Macau leads the global gaming sector and a number of exciting emerging hubs across the region are attractive markets for operators and investors.” 

“The underlying economic and socio-demographic trends will continue to drive growth across the region,” added Bryant Edwards, a corporate partner at Latham & Watkins in Hong Kong. “Tapping into this growth potential, the industry’s financing requirements in Asia are changing. Gaming enterprises were historically funded by equity and cash flows, but high yield debt is emerging as a favored funding source. There are clear signs that high yield is set to play the same role in the build-out of Macau as it did in the build-out of Las Vegas.” 

Joseph Bevash, Office Managing Partner of Latham & Watkins in Tokyo, who moderated a panel discussion on the emergence of regional hubs, said: “There is huge opportunity for growth across the Asian gaming market, although the pace of development will depend as much on the quality of the sponsor/operator as on geography. New gaming projects are coveted by host governments, spurred in large part by the promise of tax and tourism revenue streams.”

"Asia has been a focal point for latest developments in the global gaming industry as new casinos are popping up in Vietnam and the Philippines, and talks of liberalization are heating up in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. Gaming companies and institutional investors need to take into consideration the implications of local taxes and regulations that affect the development of gaming sector in Asia and also the principal risks of investing in it," said Rosalind Wade, Managing Director of Asia Gambling Brief, and one of the panelists who discussed the emerging markets in Japan, South East Asia and Australia.

Charles Ruck, a corporate partner with extensive experience advising major US gaming operators, added: “Latham has been part of all the significant developments in gaming finance and M&A in the US for several decades. We are proud to bring all those lessons to Asia and be part of the rapid growth and success, surpassing the US market in record time.” Ruck splits his time between Latham’s Orange County and New York offices. 

The industry conference focused on a wide range of topics, including: 

  • The outlook for the gaming industry in Macau and Greater China
  • An analysis of the capital markets and financing trends for the gaming sector in Macau and across the region 
  • Comparative developments in the emerging gaming hubs across Asia
  • Outlook for other sectors of the Asian gaming market, including internet gaming, lotteries, Pachinko machines, horse racing and other means of gaming 

Latham & Watkins has decades of experience representing significant participants in the gaming sector, including all aspects of private equity investments and numerous financings, development loans, joint ventures, workouts, management transactions and litigation matters. Latham has advised on numerous high profile matters in Asia, including: representing the underwriters in Wynn Macau’s US$600 million high yield bond offering, the company’s first debt capital markets offering; advising Melco Crown in its US$1 billion high yield bond offering; advising Harrah’s in its multi-billion dollar bid with Keppel Corporation to build and operate the Marina Bay Integrated Resort and Casino in Singapore; and representing Macau Legend Development Limited in its issuance of a US$1.5 billion mandatory convertible preferred shares worth HK$3 billion, among others. Click here to read an executive summary of the event sponsor and overview of Latham’s Gaming Hospitality, Gaming and Leisure Industry Group. 

The conference was co- hosted by Latham & Watkins and Asia Gambling Brief, and took place in Hong Kong on December 4, 2013. The Financial Times served as the media partner. 

About Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins is a global law firm with approximately 2,100 lawyers in its offices located in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States. With over 100 legal professionals operating from the five principal commercial and financial centers in Asia in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo, Latham offers clients US, English, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japanese law advice. Latham is consistently ranked in the top tier by leading legal and business publications such as The American Lawyer, Financial Times, mergermarket, Chambers and Partners, The Legal 500 and Asia Legal Business. For more information on Latham & Watkins, please visit the website at www.lw.com

Notes to Editor

Latham & Watkins operates as a limited liability partnership worldwide with affiliated limited liability partnerships conducting the practice in the United Kingdom, France and Italy and affiliated partnerships conducting the practice in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore. Latham & Watkins practices in Saudi Arabia in association with the Law Office of Salman M. Al-Sudairi. 

Contacts

Allen Wang, Office Managing Partner, Beijing +86.10.5965.7041
Bryant Edwards, corporate partner, Hong Kong +852.2912.2684
Joseph Bevash, Office Managing Partner, Tokyo +81.3.6212.7802
Charles Ruck, corporate partner, Orange County / New York +1.714.755.8245 / +1.212.418.7625

 
 
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