Good Morning. Politics have claimed another scalp in Japan’s bumpy IR licensing process. Wakayama’s prefectural assembly voted against a plan that was developed with partner Clairvest Neem, leaving just two bidders to submit their offering to the central government in Tokyo. In today’s Deep Dive, industry observers tell us they are not convinced this will be the last upset in the march towards opening Japan’s first casino, with the final shape of the industry likely to be very different than what was initially conceived.

What you need to know

  • Wakayama will exit from the bid for an IR license in Japan after its prefectural assembly voted against its development plan, while Nagasaki won the backing of its local legislators.
  • Stocks in Macau’s gaming operators rose following the relaxation of testing requirements for visitors from Guangdong, which were seen as a “baby step” to normalization, J.P. Morgan said.
  • GGR in the Philippines’ Entertainment City is likely to be up 15 percent in 1Q22, compared with the prior three-month period, driven by domestic demand in mass and slot revenue, says Morgan Stanley.
  • Asia’s tourism market is not expected to recover to pre-Covid levels before 2024, due to the lack of Chinese tourists and ongoing travel restrictions, the EIU says.
  • Morgan Stanley analysts don’t expect there to be any easing of travel between Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau this year, though it’s a vastly different story for the ASEAN region.

On the radar

What the papers say

ASEAN Gaming Summit 2022

AGB Intelligence



Wakayama upset further clouds Japan’s IR prospects

The field of candidates for an integrated resort (IR) license in Japan has been whittled down to just two, with some observers saying that even those are not a certainty in the highly unpredictable process. Industry insiders in Japan said the rejection of the plan was a surprise, as it had earlier received the governor’s blessing. One source said that behind the scenes, it was more about some politicians saving face, as many had publicly supported rival bidder Suncity as a partner, which withdrew abruptly in May last year despite being the front runner. 

Industry Updates

  • Light & Wonder launches first release on OpenGaming under new brand identity.
Asia Gaming Briefings - April 2022