Two of the largest casino operators on a global scale have been preparing for the potential establishment of gambling facilities on the territory of Thailand as the industry is trying to protect itself from the deteriorating expectations for the special administrative region of Macau.
As revealed by people familiar with the situation who asked not to be named because the matter is private, MGM Resorts International and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd are considering the potential of establishing casino resorts in the country. Some of the sources also shared that Galaxy Entertainment is also considering the potential of offering some gambling services in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
For the time being, neither one of the two casino giants has commented on the reports.
According to analysts, the early efforts of the largest gambling operators in the world to expand their presence in new markets highlights the casino operators’ concerns over a deteriorating outlook for Macau. As CasinoGamesPro previously revealed, the Government of mainland China wants to make the special administrative region of Macau less dependent on high-roller gamblers, especially considering some suspicions of money-laundering activities.
The reopening of the country’s borders to tourists resulted in bigger gambling revenue for Macau, too, with the gambling hub’s gaming revenue reaching about 60% of the pre-Covid-19 levels in May 2023. However, market experts have shared their concerns that the aforementioned growth could fade by the end of the year as a result of the increasing number of Chinese residents who travel to foreign destinations.
Thailand and the UAE Considered as Expansion Targets by Both Gambling Giants
On the other hand, both Thailand and the United Arab Emirates have the potential of legalizing casino gambling in the upcoming years, so some gambling giants are willing to take advantage of the situation and get a headstart as soon as possible.
Thailand is currently one of the major tourist destinations in the world, with the country attracting many visitors from other Asian countries, as well. Before the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Chinese residents were the largest group of tourists to the country, as they accounted for approximately 28% of the overall foreign arrivals in the country, followed by Malaysian and Indian people.
On the other hand, market experts believe that the United Arab Emirates could generate annual gambling revenue of about $6.6 billion and eventually surpass Singapore.
As reported by CasinoGamesPro, MGM Resorts is planning to establish an entertainment resort in Dubai. It has already set up a base in Thailand and has been among the operators that have already spoken with a parliamentary committee that considers the proposed legalization of casino gambling in the country. For the time being, however, it remains unclear what legislation will be enacted by the new Thai Government.
Las Vegas Sands Corp has already expressed interest in establishing its presence in Thailand. During an earnings call that took place at the beginning of 2023, Chief Executive Officer Robert Goldstein confirmed that the casino group is considering Thailand as a destination for further expansion and is willing to be present in the market.