Ahead of the ASEAN Gaming Summit, AGB speaks to Harmen Brenninkmeijer, Managing Partner, Dynamic Partners International about the trends he foresees in South East Asia over the next few years.
What kind of trends do you foresee in South East Asia over the next few years?
From a macro point of view, the gaming environment of SE Asia needs to be separated into 1) gaming that is organized for “locals”; and 2) gaming that is targeted to jurisdictions outside the local market.
When looking at the Philippines we can see there are several new measures enabling local players to gamble in various types of locations ranging from IRs to Egame locations. Bets are placed via a desktop functioning as a slot machine, or dedicated Bingo machines, horserace betting shops and lottery kiosks. In this case technology is creating the opportunity to expand the offering within the established regulatory framework. For all other countries the legal environment is much less clear, and changes are being made to deal with it from Cambodia, Laos to Vietnam. However, the individual approaches taken by regulators are likely to be incomplete, failing to address all pertinent issues.
For those jurisdictions targeting international clientele such as South Korea, Japan and China, the outlook is very different. In my mind, the Chinese authorities will start to question the suppliers and operators they consider to be infringing on the rules. An example will be that during 2018 and 2019 the Chinese government will address social gambling which will result in restructuring of the type of games on offer today. The result will be an impact on this segment of the industry similar to what happened with lotteries in China from 2014-2016.
From a micro point of view, we believe the operators will react with more technological advancements to get around the "Chinese wall", making it more difficult to find where the operators are located.
We believe more and better content will be created, more in-depth marketing activities will take place and the focus will shift from getting any player to making sure the players are being retained. More advanced customer management features will be introduced on the platform and in the games and more loyalty will be created with “series” of games.
How is your company responding to these trends?
We believe that we need to look at the micro trends and advocate the right measures at a macro level whenever we get a chance. We need to focus on the potential threats as they surely will arise and we need to retain a level of flexibility so we can react based on anticipated events. We like to make sure that everyone understands that we’re in the entertainment business (truly) and not just participate for the revenues it can create. It’s a business where it’s a privilege to operate in this industry and not a right. It therefore comes with a level of responsibility.
What products are you currently offering in the Philippines / Asia?
We are developing Asian style games and aggregate games to the various operators to offer them a full assortment of proven content. The focus is to be as unique as possible whilst delivering games players want to engage with on a regular basis. As we have seen many Asian games become leaders in their own right in jurisdictions across the world, we expect to be a key player in the delivery of content.
What have been the biggest developments in Asia for you in the past year?
From a macro point of view, we are excited about the initiatives taken in Vietnam re Sportsbetting, the Japanese approvals re the casinos (albeit the results are to be seen) and the opening in the Philippines of new gaming products.
For us it’s been the fact that we established D-tech, our game studio designing games for local players. We look at opportunities where we can add value and where we believe we can help companies get established in our core markets.
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