Ben Lee: Philippine casino market can’t support further expansion

A prominent gaming industry consultant has expressed doubts that the Philippine casino market can support further expansion.

In an interview with Forbes’ Muhammad Cohen, iGamiX Management & Consulting’s managing partner Ben Lee said his group didn’t believe the Philippines gaming market was “large enough to sustain four major operators” and that the resulting competition “will become extremely fierce to the point where profitability will be significantly impacted.”

The City of Dreams Manila casino was the star performer in Melco Resorts & Entertainment’s Q1 earnings report, posting strong gaming revenue growth and even earning a modest profit. Many analysts have attributed this turnaround to the Philippines’ warming relationship with China leading to an influx of Chinese gamblers, but iGamiX’s Lee begs to differ.

Lee admits that Chinese visitation to the Philippines has enjoyed impressive year-on-year growth, but “the actual numbers are still extremely low.” Lee said there are still “very few Chinese mass [market gaming] players” on Philippine casinos’ main gaming floors, where South Korean tourists dominate the international presence.

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