Japan

Sega Sammy said revenue in the six months through September gained  51 percent to 162.2 billion yen ($1.64 billion), boosted by a 31 percent gain in its pachinko and pachislot business. The pachislot sector earned 71.2 billion yen. Amusement machine sales fell 4 percent, while revenue from amusement center operations gained just 1 percent. The company now expects its full-year pachinko sales to gain 90 percent to 270 billion yen.

Melco Crown Chief Executive Lawrence Ho says the company is fielding enquiries from major companies about partnering on potential projects in Japan, ahead of a vote on legalizing casinos in the country. "This is the closest Japan has ever gotten to liberalizing gaming markets,” he said after the release of the company’s results.  

The world’s biggest casino companies, including Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, SJM Holdings and Melco Crown have all begun scouting for potential sites in Japan as lawmakers mull passing a bill to legalize gambling resorts, Bloomberg reported. Most are also considering hooking up with local partners, with MGM preparing to team up with a consortium of Japan-based companies to help prepare any possible bid.

A Tokyo court has dismissed a defamation suit from Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada that sought $114 million in damages from Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn and other executives. The court found that the case, which was filed in August last year, should not be heard by a Japanese tribunal. Okada accused Wynn of defamation over comments alleging business misconduct in South Korea and the Philippines.

 

Japan’s Year-End Jumbo Lottery will pay out a record 700 million yen ($7.1 million) to the first prize winner if that person also purchased a block of tickets including the numbers immediately before and after the winning ticket. The first prize has risen from 400 million to 500 million, with 100 million each for the adjacent tickets. 

SoftBank Corp is buying a 51 percent stake in Finnish mobile game maker Supercell for $1.53 billion. The company makes games such as “Clash of Clans” and “Hay Day.” 

The purchase price values the whole business at $3 billion. Twenty percent of Softbank's investment will come from its mobile games maker subsidiary, GungHo Online Entertainment Inc.

Japanese lawmakers have outlined legislation to legalize casinos that will limit the numbers initially, before gradually increasing the number of projects. It will also allow resorts to be developed in regional areas and not just in big cities, Bloomberg News, which said it has seen a copy of the document, reported. The outline also includes a proposal that inspectors be appointed to monitor for illegal activities and suggests that casino operators and makers and sellers of casino equipment should all be required to obtain permits to operate.

 

Japan’s draft plan to legalise gambling includes establishing an independent gaming regulator modelled on authorities that police casinos in Singapore and Las Vegas and calls for measures to cut out the country’s organised crime gangs, known as Yakuza, the Reuters news agency, which claims to have seen an outline of the regulations, reported. 

Speaking at the G2E conference in Las Vegas last week, an advisor to the Japanese government said that an opening ahead of the Olympics for any casino resorts would be ambitious.  The initial integrated resorts bill is expected to be submitted by this November to the Diet but may not be debated until the Spring session.  

Lawrence Ho would invest $5 billion in Japan if the company of which he is co-chairman, Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., were granted a license to operate there.  In a recent interview in Tokyo, Ho confirmed that he was looking outside Macau, where land and labour are in short supply, for future growth opportunities.  

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