Asia Casinos 2018: Will Japan Ever Cross The Casino Line

Asia Casinos 2018: Will Japan Ever Cross The Casino Line

Will Japan Ever Cross The Casino Line

The gaming concession for SJM Holdings and its subconcession sold to MGM and Pansy Ho expires in March 2020, two years ahead of Macau’s other two casino licenses and their subconcessions. I predict Macau will extend the SJM concession to align it with the others. That will shift the question of what to do about the expiration of gaming concessions to Macau’s next chief executive, intensifying interest in next year’s contest to succeed Fernando Chui Sai-on. Sure, Beijing has a lot to say about what happens in Macau, but gaming concession details are one area where Macau leadership can assert itself.

Will Japan Ever Cross The Casino Line

After passing the first of two casino legalization bills in December 2016, Japan was supposed to finish the job last year with passage of the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill. Instead, lawmakers added another hurdle, deciding legislation to address gambling addiction be approved first. The addiction bill is expected to pass this year.

For the second IR bill, legislators remain reluctant to support a measure that remains very unpopular with the public. Additionally, the casino industry wants its voices on the government’s so-called expert panel creating the industry regulatory framework. Including them meaningfully could delay any bill well into 2019.

Done right, casinos could be brilliant for Japan, but the odds of the government getting it together remain no better than 60-40.


Universal Entertainment’s putative US$2 billion Okada Manila is named for company founder Kazuo Okada, ousted in June for financial malfeasance. His purge left Okada Manila, or more aptly, NOkada Manila, in limbo, open but less than half finished. Universal has to decide whether it will spend upwards of US$1 billion on someone else’s dream.

Tallying positives, the Philippines continues to show strong gaming growth, and Okada Manila could become its flagship property. Universal’s core pachinko business is shrinking, and its Aruze gaming machines compete against recently merged global behemoths, so Universal needs a new growth source. Experts including Global Market Advisors senior partner Andrew Klebanow believe a Japanese company with casino operating experience will hold a golden ticket to an IR partnership.



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Started working in the Casino Industry in 1985, just never managed to leave as yet. Visited 99% of all UK Casinos, seen them all,

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