Last year, The Ministry of Culture of China warned that, “as of April 30, 2010, all amusement and entertainment venues are not allowed to operate games and amusement machines that are not listed in the guiding directory of machine models for market access issued by culture administrative departments.” Understandably, this has caused the industry some concern.
The game and amusement machine content inspection expert committee originally planned to start the next inspection soon after the announcement, but the inspection work was then stopped due to recent personnel changes in the Ministry of Culture. In fact, it seems likely that the date prescribed by the new policy, April 30, 2010, is very likely to be postponed, by maybe one to two years.
At the board meeting of the Guangzhou Panyu Animation & Game Association (GAGA) held on December 10, 2009, Su Ben-li, Honor Chairman of GAGA and Wahlap President, revealed the latest developments on the recently disputed new policy.
On the same day, Secretary Zhu Ke-ming concisely introduced the association’s new work plans for 2010 and each item of work content aimed to create better operating environment and higher commercial value for enterprises.
Market Division Chief Zhu Ke-ming brought three valuable pieces of news:
The Guangzhou Municipal Culture Press and Publication Bureau will actively and thoroughly implement the notice recently issued by the Department of Culture Markets, Ministry of Culture of China regarding urging game and amusement venues in the region to complete game replacement by April 30, 2010;
In 2010 the association will plead the Department of Culture Markets for conducting the inspection of game and amusement machine content in Panyu
Before May 1, 2010, the Culture Press and Publication Bureau of Guangzhou City will temporarily stop the evaluation of game and amusement venues in Guangzhou City.
The Korea Game Industry Agency revealed that the government of Korea is currently urging the country’s game industry to expand in the sectors of arcade games and home games.
According to Park Yong-seok, Chief at the Beijing Representative Office of the Korean Game Industry Agency, the Korean government believes that Korea already has gained an edge in the online game market and the next step is to expand in the sectors of arcade and home games because these two sectors account for 80% of the game market.
Park Yong-seok didn’t introduce details of expansion but hoped Chinese enterprises and Korean companies can cooperate to develop the global home and arcade game market. An industry source disclosed that Korea’s largest arcade game developer has established a joint venture in China and started to construct its manufacturing base.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea and the Korea Game Industry Agency officially published the Korea Game White Paper 2009. The White Paper reported that Korea’s domestic game market reached $5,605.7 billion Korean won in 2008, posing a 9% growth compared with $5,143.6 billion won in 2007. Korea’s game exports reached US$1,090 million in 2008, growing by 40.1% compared with US$780 million in 2007. Also, Korea’s online game exports currently continue to enjoy dramatic growth.
According to the Korea Game White Paper 2009, among all game sectors of Korea, online and mobile phone games recorded highest growth in revenue with growth rate of 20% and 21%, respectively. Korean online game market reached $2,692.2 billion won in 2008, increasing by $450 billion won than in 2007.
The mobile phone game market exceeded $300 billion won in 2008 and enlarged by $50 billion than a year ago. Korea’s TV console game market also enjoyed growth in 2008, exceeding the scale of $500 billion won. However, the internet café market experienced a slight decline of 7% in 2008 and recorded $1,928 billion won in scale.
In recent years, discussions on casino legalization in Japan have alternated between dynamic enthusiasm and stagnation.
After the House of Representatives election was held last year, a new administration was inaugurated and the industry was keen to discover what kind of attitude the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) as the center party held on the casino issue.
On February 27 this year, casino supporters met at the Japan Casino Development Summit” in Tokoname City, Aichi Prefecture. The meeting attracted the participation of related officials such as member of the House of Representatives, Yoshio Maki, who is director of the DPJ “New Era Entertainment Industry Improvement and Development Project Research Team”, a team that is responsible for studying the establishment of laws and regulations regulating casinos and pachinko machines.
Yoshio Maki stated, “DPJ has become the ruling party and finally has the political power to carry out casino legalization. However, political events have happened one after another, making it difficult to come out with a substantial conclusion on the issue of casino legalization. After the House of Councilors election is held this summer, a cross-party alliance that transcends barriers between all parties shall be formed and will propose a concrete casino legalization bill to the parliament.”
After fighting for more than two decades to get Penghu County of Taiwan to open up casinos, Taiwan’s first local casino referendum was finally held on September 26, 2009. A total of 17,350 votes against the proposition to allow the opening of casinos defeated the 13,397 votes supporting the opening of casinos by 3,000-plus votes.
The plan of building casino resorts therefore failed to get the approval of residents in Penghu. In accordance with the referendum law, no referendum shall be held for the same proposition within 3 years. So within the next three years Penghu County won’t be able to discuss the issue of building casino resorts and the development of the gaming industry in Taiwan has also experienced a setback. Penghu County Commissioner Wang Chien-fa commented that he respected the final decision of the residents.
Executive Yuan Spokesperson Su Jun-pin stated that although casino development was vetoed in the referendum, the determination of developing Penghu’s tourism is not influenced. Deputy Minister Chen Wei-ren of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said “there are other offshore islands that are considering casino resort development. Therefore, the Bureau of Tourism will restart the tender next month for the resort development program and recruit a planning team for making research. Also, the various construction projects planned by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications will continue.”
Earlier this year, Minister Mao Chi-kuo of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications went to Singapore to attend the APEC Ministerial Meeting. Considering the future planning and development of Taiwan’s gaming industry, Mao Chi-kuo listened to the briefing given by the casino regulatory authority in Singapore and casino operator Genting Group which runs Resorts World at Sentosa.
Mao Chi-kuo said, “Although Penghu’s gaming referendum didn’t pass, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications still hopes to complete the gaming act draft.”
He pointed out that the scale of the two integrated entertainment complexes containing casinos was larger than he expected and that the patterns and supporting measures there are very suitable for Taiwan to emulate. As for Singapore’s implementation of casino exclusion orders for problem gambling prevention, Singapore approaches the situation by managing problem gamblers and establishing the list of banned gamblers which are similar to those adopted by other countries including Taiwan.