Thursday, June 17, 2021

NIPPON

Covid changing rules of IR licensing game

The message may not be what Japan’s policymakers want to hear, but there was clear confirmation again last week that the Covid pandemic has changed the rules of the game when it comes to the Japan IR licensing process and not in their favour.

Japan IR consortiums begin to take shape

After a process that has gone on for more than half a decade, the shape of the Japan IR consortiums is finally beginning to emerge.

License duration seen as fatal flaw in Japan IR regulation

It may be a little early to write the obituary for Japan’s IR policy, but additional evidence was presented this past week about what could already be described as the biggest flaw in the design of Japan’s IR regulation—the short periods that IR licenses will be valid.

Japan’s IR policy totters after operators hit exits

Japan’s bid to create a world-beating IR market is hanging in the balance after a series of high-profile exits and political mismanagement.

Wakayama IR bid on the ropes as Suncity pulls out

Wakayama’s IR bid appears to be on the ropes as the Suncity Group has withdrawn from the RFP process.

Pachinko industry needs new business model

Even before the Covid pandemic it was apparent that the pachinko industry, at least in its current form, possessed a dying business model. Recent events have only accelerated the trends.

JAPAN

A citizen’s group in Nagasaki is unhappy about the prefecture government’s IR document disclosure policy, calling for more transparency in the operator selection process.
Huis Ten Bosch, a contender site for an IR in Nagasaki, posted a loss of Y218 million ($1.9 million) in the fiscal year to March 2021 as Covid slashed visitor numbers. 
Universal Entertainment said it plans an additional note issue to improve cash flow and redeem $118 million in outstanding notes.
Sega Sammy plans to spend Y120 billion on its participation in an IR in Yokohama, which if successful is likely to open in the late 2020s, it said.
Genting Singapore has confirmed its Japanese partners in its bid for an IR license in Yokohama and said the project doesn't need shareholder approval as its investment is less than 100 percent of the market capitalization of the company.
Fredric Gushin, managing director of Spectrum Gaming Group, talks with Asia Gaming Brief managing editor Sharon Singleton about the snail's pace of the regulatory process in Japan. He says the framework that has been put in place isn't ideal and some changes are needed to ensure an adequate return on the multi-billion dollar investments that are planned. 
With just two months remaining before the formal campaign period begins in the Yokohama mayoral race, opposition forces are still struggling to find a promising candidate that they can rally behind.
Vaccination rates in some Asia-Pacific nations, such as Australia, China, Japan and South Korea, have begun to pick up in recent weeks, reducing the risk of economic setbacks due to the pandemic, Fitch Ratings says. 
Bernstein analyst Vitaly Umansky believes Genting Singapore to have a “very strong chance” of securing a Japan casino opportunity in Yokohama, given its Singapore background and its Japanese partner. 
While announcing key members of its consortium on Monday, Clairvest Neem Ventures also let it be known that it aims for its Wakayama IR to become Japan’s leading hub for esports.
Over the strong objections of prosecutors, the Tokyo District Court granted bail to former Senior Vice-Minister of the Cabinet Office Tsukasa Akimoto in the 500 .com IR bribery case.
MGM President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle told the Bernstein Annual Strategic Decisions Conference on Friday that, in his estimation, only two IRs are likely to be built in Japan’s first round of development, not the maximum three that the legislation allows for.
Despite its withdrawal from the Wakayama IR race that it had apparently already won as far as the local government was concerned, Suncity Group still has two non-gaming resorts under development on opposite sides of Japan. Some details about the resort in Niseko, Hokkaido, have been released to the local media.
Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka yesterday provided a rough outline of Clairvest Neem Venture’s winning bid to partner with his prefecture on IR development.
The Wakayama Prefectural Government is expected to announce today that it has accepted the consortium led by Clairvest Neem Ventures as viable and it will move forward with its national IR licensing bid.
Winning a license to operate an integrated resort in Yokohama could add as much as S$0.34 ($0.26) in value to Genting Singapore's share price, however considerable uncertainties remain about the investment, Nomura wrote in a research note.

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