Electronic casino game distributor Asia Pioneer Entertainment Ltd (APE) has outlined to GGRAsia its next phase of development, including enlarging its manufacturer roster – possibly by adding a United States-based supplier –, expanding sales and starting electronic gaming operations in Southeast Asia, the latter with local partners.
The news was given on Tuesday, the first day of the MGS Entertainment Show 2018 at Cotai Expo in the Venetian Macao resort hotel.
This time last year the Macau-based, Hong Kong-listed APE had just completed its initial public offering.
Tony Chan, chief financial officer, told GGRAsia on Tuesday that – in line with the IPO prospectus and as mentioned to us earlier this year – a portion of the money raised is going into such Southeast Asia expansion.
“We’re expanding in Asia: we have new product lines coming out from our suppliers; consulting is firing on all cylinders,” said Mr Chan, referring latterly to a unit of the business that advises manufacturers and other interested parties about entering Macau and other key Asian markets.
Mr Chan said the firm had some “larger bulk orders” for next year, and was “in discussions with several new suppliers, including one from U.S.,” the name of which he could not disclose at this stage, for distribution deals.
He added: “We are looking at opportunities in the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia, for sale of machines and also for gaming operations,” confirming the latter strategy was attractive because it involves recurring revenue.
With gaming operations, a company may receive a fee – or a percentage of economic benefit – from operating gaming machines either in collaboration with another party or on behalf of another party. In another form of operations – sometimes referred to as “participation”, a company may receive a percentage of gross revenue from operation of gaming machines it either manufactures or supplies.
APE did not give precise details of its plan for “operations”, but the overall strategy has included the recent hiring of Gary Hann (pictured). He is in aggregate a 30-year veteran of casino operations in Asia and in Las Vegas, Nevada; and a specialist in the slot machine and electronic gaming machine segment.
Mr Hann has worked for Sands China Ltd in Macau, and Marina Bay Sands, Las Vegas Sands Corp’s Singapore resort; as well as for Solaire Resort and Casino and City of Dreams Manila, both in the Philippine capital.
“Gary’s connections are most important to us,” said Herman Ng, the group’s chief executive and an executive director, explaining the reason for the recruitment.
Vegas, Macau experience
Mr Hann, who has been named APE’s international business development director, told us: “We are looking at operations where we can get a joint venture partner in… and have a percentage” of economic benefit from operations.
He added, referring latterly to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, also known as Pagcor, that country’s casino regulator: “We look to markets like the Philippines where we can do participation with entities like Pagcor, who not only regulate but also operate.”
Mr Hann said Vietnam was also a “target” for APE, because the country had a careful approach to gaming oversight, despite not having a dedicated regulatory body for gaming in the manner of Macau. Such matters were instead covered by three government ministries.
“We are cultivating those potential revenue streams,” said Mr Hann, referring to gaming operations.
“We have [made] some serious planning this year, and we look forward to bringing those plans to fruition in 2019.”
Part of APE’s business model on the sales side, is to offer casino operators bundles of products from across the range of brands and games for which it acts as distributor.
“With my background I have really good at understanding volume and variety,” said Mr Hann, referring to the slot machine and electronic games segments.
At MGS Entertainment Show, several APE partner manufacturers shared a stand with it: electronic table games specialist Jumbo Technology Co Ltd from Taiwan – a long-standing collaborator; electronic tables specialist Spintec d.o.o. of Slovenia; slot machine and electronic games maker Konami Australia Pty Ltd; and ticket printer manufacturer TransAct Technologies Inc.
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