Thursday, February 25, 2021

NIPPON

Hokkaido white IR dies another death

“A fool dies a thousand deaths; a wise man only one.” This common expression—a garbled version of something written by Shakespeare—might very well be applied to the prospect of IR development in Hokkaido. And indeed, the project has recently died yet another death.

Nagasaki seen as best-managed IR bid contender

The Nagasaki Prefectural Government continues to distinguish itself as having the best managed bid in Japan’s IR development race, giving them a strong chance to become a licensed municipality.

Japan’s quiet explosion of online gambling

Largely ignored by the media and the policymakers, Japan has clearly entered an era of explosive growth for online and mobile gambling.

Komeito loses its pro-casino voice

This week a fresh scandal, unrelated to IR development, stripped the ruling coalition Komeito Party of its only lawmaker who was proactively and vocally in favor of casino legalization. This represents an indirect but still distinct blow to the industry’s future prospects at the national level.

Japan’s IR development process rolls forward

Whatever its weaknesses, there is a clear pattern emerging in the new year that Japan’s IR development process is now rolling forward again. Four local governments are definitely in the race, and several others could make late entries—though that latter prospect is looking increasingly unlikely.

Tomakomai IR optimists see hopes dashed again

Hope springs eternal in the minds of Tomakomai IR advocates. The answer delivered from the lips of Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki keeps coming back “no,” but what seems to be delivered to their ears is “maybe soon.”

JAPAN

Sega Sammy Holdings has released its financial results for the April-December 2020 nine month period, showing a 51.8 percent fall in operating income on a year-on-year basis.
The Nagasaki Prefectural Government has confirmed that five consortiums are in the race to become their partners in a licensing bid. The five have been named as Casinos Austria Japan, Current Group, Niki Chau Fwu (Parkview), One Kyushu (TTL Resorts), and the Oshidori consortium.
The municipal government of Yokohama has announced that one IR operator has already passed its qualification screening, though the name of the company was not disclosed.
The government of Osaka has decided to reopen its IR bidding process to allow the possibility of challengers to the MGM-Orix consortium which has hitherto been the only accepted applicant for the Yumeshima site.
Universal Entertainment said it's considering a listing on either the New York Stock Exchange, or Nasdaq, for the holding company of its Philippines integrated resort business, which operates Okada Manila.
The Osaka government has given up on specifying in its official documents when the prospective Yumeshima IR would actually have its full opening. The target date has had to be revised backward several times, and at this point the authorities feel that it is better not to be specific.
As part of its campaign to form a partnership with the prefectural government for IR development, Oshidori holdings has formed an official partnership agreement with V-Varen Nagasaki, a Japanese J2 League football club.
With its original plans to hold IR briefing sessions for the public at various venues around the city stymied by the coronavirus pandemic, the municipal administration has now begun to hold these sessions online.
Okura Holdings said it expects to have returned to a profit in the second half of 2020 of no more than Y40 million ($379,328) due to the resumption of traffic at its pachinko parlours. This is down some 88 percent to pre-Covid levels. 
Konami Holdings has reported a steep decline in its gaming segment revenue in the April-December 2020 period to JPY11.75 billion (US$112 million), down 48.8 percent on a year-on-year basis.
The former president of the Japanese junket firm Nine & Pictures is in hot water over a large amount of money that has gone missing, possibly as a result of his gambling losses in Macau.
A Chinese national and former employee of 500 com has been handed a suspended prison sentence for his part in the casino bribery scandal. Zheng Xi, a former executive of the company’s Japan unit, had argued that he had only served as a translator.
Wynn Resorts has clarified that its withdrawal from the Yokohama IR race at this juncture does not mean that it no longer has interest in the Japan market, and that it could jump into a bid for another candidate site at another time.
A report in the Japanese media suggests that pro-IR forces in Yokohama, led by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga (who represents a district within the city), are mulling a plan to ask Fumiko Hayashi not to run for reelection as mayor and instead put pro-IR hopes in the hands of Junko Mihara, a former actress and now a national conservative politician.
Haruki Satomi is the new group CEO of Sega Sammy Holdings, taking over from his father, Sammy Corporation founder Hajime Satomi. The former CEO will continue at Sega Sammy as chairman and representative director.
The administration of Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has decided to allocate JPY360 million (US$3.5 million) to IR development in the coming fiscal year, down JPY40 million from the current year.

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