Uproar among netizens on gambling concerns as Genting Singapore swings back to profit in Q3 2020 with increase of gaming revenue

Genting Singapore reported a net profit of about S$54.4 million for the third quarter ended 30 September — effectively bouncing back from the S$163.3 million loss it suffered in the second quarter.

This followed Resorts World Sentosa (RWS)’s reopening in early July as Singapore entered Phase Two of its post-circuit breaker measures.

Despite the profit growth compared to the previous quarter, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the group posted a 66 per cent decline in net profit for the Q3 2020 on a year-on-year basis, compared to S$158.9 million earned in Q3 2019, according to Genting Singapore in its quarterly business overview released on Saturday (14 November).

For Q3 2020, the company’s revenue rose to S$300.1 million, from S$41.3 million in the Q2 2020.

On a year-on-year basis, however, it still fell significantly by 50 per cent from S$596.1 million previously.

Gaming revenue for Q3 2020 rose to S$212.9 million, from S$6.5 million in Q2 2020, but it fell by 41 per cent compared to the previous year where S$360.8 million was recorded in its gaming revenue.

Non-gaming revenue for Q3 2020 rose to S$59.9 million from S$16.3 million in Q2 2020 since the reopening of Universal Studios Singapore and S.E.A. Aquarium from 1 July. Revenue from non-gaming attractions, however, saw a sharp decline of 74 per cent year-on-year from S$234.6 million previously.

In its quarterly business overview, the company noted that the COVID-19 has caused an “unprecedented crisis” for the travel and tourism industry.

“As part of our journey towards the eventual recovery of tourism, the Group is seizing this period of adversity to re-imagine and re-adapt our guest offerings,” it said, adding that RWS has rolled out “specially-curated staycation packages” for locals as well as theme-based dining experience at its hotels.

Genting Singapore also said that its growth strategy also includes a commitment to developing the S$4.5 billion mega expansion for RWS, which was announced last year and was later delayed due to disruption to the construction industry and global supply chain caused by COVID-19.

“In this era of the new norm, we will re-imagine an innovative RWS 2.0 which will propel RWS to new heights as the region’s top leisure and tourism destination,” it noted.

On top of that, Genting Singapore is also “keenly exploring” the Yokohama integrated resort opportunity in Japan, adding that they will “evaluate the Request-for-Proposal (RFP)’s conditions and the investment environment when the formal bidding process begins and will respond with a proposal if these conditions meet the Group’s investment criteria”.

Earlier in July, it was reported that RWS will lay off its employees as part of cost-cutting measures following the impact brought about by the coronavirus pandemic on the tourism sector.

“In this latest round of review, we have made the difficult decision to implement a one-off workforce rationalization,” it stated, noting that the decision was made after a thorough process of “careful deliberation and consultation” and that all affected workers will get “fair compensation”.

RWS did not specify the number of employees retrenched, but it noted that the vast majority of local workers have been retained.

Casinos back in the black — but Singaporeans in the red, netizens warn

Netizens were quick to pen their thoughts on the Facebook page of The Straits Times, with many of them expressing concern and apprehension over the news of Genting Singapore’s profits in Q3 2020.

They said the increase of gaming revenue indicates that “many Singaporeans are losing money to casino”, given that there are no inbound tourists currently due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and that it is highly likely that the visitors are locals.

The increase in Genting Singapore’s gaming revenue, according to one netizen, “just shows that many gamblers [sic] in this country”.

“Can see many many people doing very well spending so much in the casino, no reason to complain then about the economy here,” a netizen wrote.

One netizen, however, commented that the increased profit of the group can be seen “as a confirmation of recession” because “people are restored to gamble to turn thing around.”

A handful of netizens felt that the increase in gaming revenue is good news, as the rise in profitability can generate more employment opportunities for Singaporeans.

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