Reviewing the Gambling Industry in 2020
Oliver Moore / 26 January 2021

Reviewing the Gambling Industry in 2020: Asia and Australia

The gambling industry’s growth in Asia came under threat in both the land-based and online casino market in 2020. The former contended with the COVID-19 pandemic, while the latter had to deal with government policies. Here we look through the top casino news of Asia and Australian gambling industry.

A Tough Year for Asia

Casinos in the Macau area were the first to go under the pandemic’s hammer, with many establishments having to shut down operations. Despite closing its doors only for a short period (15 days), it had to make multiple changes to adapt to a new pandemic world when the market reopened.

The Asian gambling market took a drastic hit with revenue for the first 11 months of the year barely matching earnings from any two months of 2019. The situation was worse for Junket operators. There were limited options for these groups to move high rollers due to the pandemic’s global nature.

2021 brought with it a little reprieve as vaccine testings for the virus have yielded positive results. But Junkets aren’t out of the woods yet, as China’s new policies threaten to derail their operations. The new laws criminalise soliciting and organising by casinos abroad, a core aspect to their business model.

Australia’s Crown Resorts Feels the Heat

Crown Resorts, one of Australia’s significant operators, started 2020 on a high with its launch of Crown Sydney but ended with the operator’s license hanging in the balance. While others’ primary problem was getting around the pandemic, this company had more significant issues to contend with during the year.

News reports surfaced of the casino’s failure to comply with regulatory obligations and unsavoury practices. Melco Resorts didn’t follow through with its initial plan of buying 20% of Crown, while MRE had to sell its 10% share at a significant loss.

The future doesn’t look promising for this casino, as even with the lightest of disciplinary action from the regulatory body, there’s a high chance of investors jumping ship. They won’t have the luxury of dealing with Junket operators going forward, and a strained relationship between Australia and China also isn’t a source of hope.