Genting waiting for clearer picture on New York’s gaming sector

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KUALA LUMPUR: Genting Malaysia Bhd will wait for a clearer picture on New York’s three new casinos, proposed by New York governor Mario Cuomo recently.

“At the moment, we don’t know. It may happen, it may not. Until it really happens, we will not say if we are going in or not, because the situation keeps changing,” Genting executive vice-president Datuk Kevin Sim told The Edge Financial Daily last Thursday.

Cuomo proposed three new casinos in upstate New York instead of the initially bigger, full-fledged casino in the borough of Queens. He argued that upstate casinos could be a magnet to downstate gamblers who visit casinos in Atlantic City or Connecticut.

Analysts said Genting stood a good chance of operating one of the three new casinos as its subsidiary, Resorts World New York (RWNY), has an excellent track record there. RWNY currently operates out of the Aqueduct Racetrack and offers only electronic slots and table games.

Alliance Research, in its note on Jan 11, said Genting is well-positioned to benefit from potential gaming liberalisation in the New York state, even though the phase 1 liberalisation is only restricted to three new casinos in upstate New York.

Hong Leong Investment Bank Research analyst Grace Chew advised investors to take this opportunity to accumulate shares pending Genting’s New York bid for a casino licence if the project proves feasible.

Cash-rich Genting reported a lower net profit of RM1.51 billion for the first nine months ended Sept 30, 2012  from RM2.09 billion previously.

The lower earnings were due to lower contributions from Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore, which was affected by the lower casino business and lower win percentage in the premium player business compared with the previous year.

The leisure and hospitality business was the biggest contributor to group earnings. Genting also has businesses in the power, plantation, and oil and gas sectors.

Meanwhile, Sim said the growing public awareness of  Resorts World Genting (RWG) smartphone application would hopefully lead to a gradual increase in its earnings.

“For us, it’s not about the immediate impact on revenue. It’s about getting people to gradually realise that what we have to offer is good.  This will take some time, and is a process from which we will eventually reap the reward,”  he said after an informal media session last Thursday.

He hoped that services offered under the application, such as information on shows, events, food and beverage, would make those living in Kuala Lumpur realise that RWG is more than just a casino.

 

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Jan 21, 2013.

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