Light & Wonder in Growth Mode in Asia

Light & Wonder CEO Matt Wilson says the land-based casino market in Asia “is strategically very important” for the U.S. company. L&W, formerly Scientific Games, has set its sights on a larger presence in the region.

Light & Wonder in Growth Mode in Asia

Light & Wonder Inc. is looking to increase its footprint in the land-based casino market in Asia. The region “is strategically very important” for the U.S.-based company, once known as Scientific Games, CEO Matt Wilson told GGRAsia. Light & Wonder is a provider of casino equipment and digital gaming content.

“We’re in the process of expanding our facilities in the Philippines,” Wilson told the news outlet. “It’s clearly a very important market for us going forward, so we intend to plant a flag in the Philippines.”

He added, “Macau will still be our home (in Asia). We’ve been here for a few decades now, and we intend to be here in perpetuity. It’s a super important market to us.”

Asia’s gaming market “was the last … to fully recover” from the Covid-19 pandemic, Wilson continued. “The Philippines has been the primary growth driver, but really the broader Asian gaming industry is something that’s really important to us.” He said his goal is to drive “the highest ship share” in the Asian marketplace. “We’re focused on making sure that continues over time.”

“The Philippines is a really fast-growing business,” he said. The country is on an “expansive growth agenda”, with the number of casino resorts increasing, and Light & Wonder is “positioned nicely to benefit from that.
“Singapore and the surrounding markets have recovered nicely as well. Macau was maybe the last piece of the Asian gaming market to come back online in totality (post-Covid-19), but it is nice to see that the gross gaming revenue numbers (are getting back) towards 2019 levels.”

Speaking of a new cap on slot machines in Macau—with a citywide maximum of 12,000 units—he said, “It really makes (casino operators) focus on investing in things that are going to be almost guaranteed to be successful. This speaks to us building on franchises that are successful… things that players know and trust and love. So that slot cap does inform how we think about investing behind our product portfolio.”

New slot products designed with Asian players in mind include “Jin Ji Bao Xi Grand,” a new edition of the “Jin Ji Bao Xi” series, to be launched before the end of the year, and the recently released “Duo Fu Duo Cai Grand.”

“It is really building on some great foundational franchises that we’ve built,” said Wilson, who assumed the role of president and CEO of Light & Wonder in October 2022.

“All the changes that we made in the last few years to invest behind our ambitions are starting to show up on the financial scoreboard,” he said. “That makes us the fastest growing supplier in the space.”

He noted that Light & Wonder was comfortably on the way to achieve an annual EBITDA of US$1.4 billion by 2025, a target set in 2022 by the company’s management. “We’re growing above what we expected and what we need to get to those goals.”

The group exited the sports betting and lottery businesses in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

“Light & Wonder now is a content business,” said Wilson. “We build great slot machines, great table games, deploy them onto casino floors through our land-based gaming business. We also have an iGaming business primarily in Europe, but also in the United States. And the third business is our social casino business SciPlay.”