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Ernst And Young Publishes New Report On Global Gaming Growth

by Robin Pilgrim, LawAndTax-News.com, London

23 May 2007


A report published yesterday by Big Five accounting firm Ernst & Young has revealed that non-US casinos now outnumber those in the United States.

According to E&Y, a wave of capital flowing into the gaming sector is fuelling massive growth in casino and other gaming properties worldwide.

Ernst & Young’s annual Gaming Bulletin (now on its 25th edition) reported that the gaming industry – fuelled by billions in new capital for development, mergers and acquisitions – has undergone a transformation in the last year, creating a truly global gaming industry.

“In the last year, we’ve seen Macau surpass Las Vegas as the leading gaming centre in the world, and we’ve seen the rest of the world surpass North America in terms of total number of gaming properties,” explained Cameron Cartmell, director of betting and gaming at Ernst & Young in London.

He continued:

“We’ve also seen a strong flow of capital into the gaming sector in the US and witnessed the steady expansion of the North American gaming businesses abroad through mergers and acquisitions as well as the emergence of new markets in Europe and Asia.”

The report showed that whilst the US is still the largest individual gaming market with 1,496 casino and gaming properties, the rest of the world has now overtaken North America in terms of casino expansion, with 1,822 properties.

Much of the growth in the gaming sector has come in Asia, where Macau has been a major success story, with 23% annual growth last year, and with US$6.9 billion in annual revenue in 2006 now surpassing the Las Vegas strip (US$6.7 billion).

Further growth in the region is anticipated in the next 12 to 24 months, with Singapore projected to open its first gaming properties in 2009, and Japan discussing whether to lift a longtime ban on casinos.

Other regions that saw significant growth in their gaming sectors in 2006 included South America – where Argentina, with 79 casinos has more gaming activity than any other country in the region – and Africa, where South Africa dominates with 44 casinos and 37,599 slots.

The report predicts that other emerging nations such as Russia, which has more casinos (169) than any other country in Eastern Europe, and India may also see strong future expansion of their gaming sectors in the next few years, though both markets currently have certain restrictions in place.

Even in more mature markets, such as the UK, which has had sports betting, slot machines and other gaming outlets for many years, pending legislation will result in the controlled expansion of the casino sector, with 17 new licenses to be granted, including one for a regional super casino in Manchester.

“Increasingly, sovereign nations and municipalities are viewing gaming as a catalyst for tourism, their entertainment industries and economic development,” concluded Cartmell.

“As a result, we don’t see any immediate let-up in the current rate of gaming growth in the US or around the world.”

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining offshore e-commerce and online gaming is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report6.asp

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