The suave looking businessman reclines back in his chair at the blackjack table in Danang, Vietnam’s new Crown Casino, and leisurely sips his drink while waiting for his female companion to get some more chips.
And in casinos all across Asia, the money never stops flowing.
The vast riches of Asia are fueling a boom in gambling of the like never seen before; Macau has stormed ahead of Las Vegas in annual revenues, Singapore has almost caught up, and now more enterprising operators such as Crown, operated by Hoang Dat Silver Stores and backed by U.S. partners, are attempting to cash in on new markets like Vietnam.
Other, more far flung nations in Asia are attempting to get in on the act as well, with countries as far apart as Fiji and Sri Lanka all eyeing the riches that gambling + tourists bring.
Last year, the Chinese enclave of Macau saw a staggering $23.5 billion in profits from its casinos, a 58% increase from 2009 profits. This total is four times that of Las Vegas’ total revenues for the same period, making it the number one gambling destination in the world.
Singapore meanwhile hit revenues of $6.5 billion, rivaling the profits of Las Vegas following the opening of two casino complexes last year.
Vietnam of course, is operating at a much smaller scale, but it plans to open up sooner rather than later, its leaders keen not too miss out on this growing opportunity. So far, gambling in the communist state has been tightly controlled, and its casinos are strictly for foreigners. However, there are more casinos being planned and some under construction as we speak.
So what’s driving this massive growth all of a sudden? Perhaps nothing has ‘caused’ it as such. There has always been a huge appetite for gambling in Asian cultures, and the demand has always been there. However, while Macau has long been a gambler’s haven, the growth of large scale casino complexes in the rest of Asia is quite a recent phenomenon.
Asians have always liked to gamble, yet previously many preferred to take their chances in private gambling dens, or traditional sports such as cock fighting. Recent years have seen rising incomes in most Asian countries, and with it a growing demand for Las Vegas style gaming houses. Many gamblers, particularly the ‘new rich’ Chinese generation see casinos as the ultimate rich kid’s playground, and for those who can afford it they are the place to hang out and be seen.
With the way things are going, Asia is expected to finally overtake the U.S. as the biggest casino gaming market in the world by the end of 2012 in yet another sign of Asia’s growing dominance of the travel industry.