The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is experiencing rapid economic and gaming growth, presenting both a competitive threat and a potential opportunity for established casino destinations like Macau. With the removal of Covid restrictions, Southeast Asia is poised to drive gaming growth in the region with its combination of strong economies, world-class resorts, and enthusiastic players.
ASEAN, which consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, has a combined population of over 660 million and a GDP exceeding US$3.3 trillion. This makes it the fifth largest economy in the world, just behind India and 50% greater than Canada or Brazil. The region’s economies are projected to grow by 4.7% this year and 5% in 2024, according to ASEAN’s annual report.
Indonesia, with its large population and robust economy, is seen as a key player in driving gaming growth in the region, while Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia are also expected to have a significant impact. The Philippines, with its dynamic gaming market, is set to overtake Singapore in gross gaming revenue, thanks to new integrated resorts and expansions.
The Philippines also has a strong online gaming market, making it an attractive destination for both domestic and international players. Vietnam has seen the opening of several new resorts, while Thailand is considering the legalization of casinos, attracting the interest of international operators like Hard Rock and Las Vegas Sands.
In response to the growing competition from Southeast Asia, established casino destinations like Macau and Singapore are expanding their offerings to remain competitive. In Macau, efforts are being made to attract more foreign tourists, and the city is focusing on events and activities to draw international attention.
However, some experts believe that Southeast Asia may not pose a significant threat to established gaming destinations due to the sheer size and strength of markets like Macau and mainland China. While the region shows great potential for gaming growth, it remains to be seen whether it can truly challenge the dominance of established hubs like Macau.