Asia Cruise Capacity Shows Growth

Southeast Asia is fast becoming the ultimate cruise destination. Global Traveler details how the number of ships deployed in the region has grown by 53% in the past six years. Passenger capacity has also increased from 1.5 million to 4.2 million with Southeast Asia now making up almost 20% of Asia’s total cruise passengers. And with more visitors every year, the region has responded by opening up more casinos.

MSC Fantasia
photo: MSC Cruises

In 2019, more Americans than ever are taking cruises, even the river cruise sector is seeing a spike. Here’s what you can expect in terms of casinos in Southeast Asia.


Cambodian gaming regulations have undergone plenty of shifts in the past. Today the industry is growing and the country has plenty of gaming options. The Phnom Penh Post explains that just last year, the country granted 52 new casino licenses, bringing the total to 150 – a 53% increase just in 2018. Much like the casino boom that’s happening in the rest of Southeast Asia, the Cambodian government attributes this sudden increase to the influx of Chinese tourists who are forbidden from playing on the mainland. The biggest casino in the country is NagaWorld, which has won numerous awards including The Best Integrated Entertainment Destination and the World Luxury Award.


While Malaysia is famous for its beautiful beaches, its gaming industry is largely unknown. ExpatBets which provides practical information on the Asian gaming markets, explains how in Malaysia the gambling laws are quite complex because of the Muslim population. Due to Malaysia’s conservative culture, there’s technically only one legal casino in the country. It’s called the Casino de Genting, and can be found at the Genting Highlands in Pahang. The integrated hill resort is a must visit for gaming fans and tourists alike. Alongside the luxury casino, there is a theme park, six hotels (including the world’s largest), and a lively nightlife.


Casinos are thriving in the Philippines. Reuters revealed that casino revenues in the Philippines are expected to reach $4.1 billion by the end of 2019. And as per government data, the nine private casino firms in the country operate 9,895 gaming machines and 1,580 gaming tables. This is in addition to the 9,679 gaming machines and 470 tables being operated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp , the country’s official gaming authority. Most of the top casinos are located near Manila Bay and offer the best in Philippine hospitality and entertainment. When it comes to combining the tropics and gaming, the Philippines is the place to be in Southeast Asia.


Vietnam is also a country that is rapidly expanding its casino industry. This year the country will open its doors to the $4 billion Ho Tram Strip project, which will become one of the biggest casino resorts in the region. The resort will be over 2,400 acres and will feature numerous hotels, shopping malls, and water parks. If you are heading to Vietnam on a cruise later this year, the Ho Tram Strip will be the hottest new venue to visit.

There is no doubt that gaming is a popular reason for tourists to embark on a cruise, with ‘7 Things Cruise Gamblers Always Talk About’ a clear reflection of what interests many passengers. If you’re looking to travel somewhere new and embrace your inner James Bond, Southeast Asia is the place to be.

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