Operators Shift Gears in Race on Japanese Casinos

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Modified by Daniel Hardman on March 03, 2021 in

One of the big things about the gaming industry is that it is always changing and evolving.  

While the entertainment factor might remain a constant there is constant search for the next big thing.  

The latest buzz that has caught the industry by storm is the potential of a Japanese market in the future  

The Next Big Thing 

It has been said that while it might be years away Japanese Casinos are considered to be the next big thing in the gaming industry. For quite some time now there has been a rise in excitement among operators generated by the possibility of a Japanese market. 

 Currently there is a process underway to establish integrated resorts in the country. Just this week the country nominated five members to form the Casino Management Committee. However, it seems that recent comments from US Casino operators have dampened expectations on the new developments.  

Financial Based Decisions 

During the Q3 earnings calls earlier this month it was made clear that while excitement was still there so were hesitations regarding the Japanese Casinos.  

The Las Vegas Sands COO, Rob Goldstein, stated that no matter how good you are at business you must always stop to think about whether something is prudent. And if you can deploy and get the return. Goldstein mentioned that they’ve had those discussions in-house as well as with the Japanese Government. It is now up to their Chairman and board to make the final decisions.  

Wynn Resorts Q3 earnings call also came with its own dampeners regarding the Japanese Casinos. The Wynn Resorts CEO, Matt Maddox, stated that they will be pursuing Japan with vigour but they will not pursue if it doesn’t make financial sense. Maddox also declared that he believes it will be a longer process than people are anticipating. According to Maddox they are going to be very disciplined in terms of how any structure is put together and what the costs and return profile is going to be.  

Mixed Messages 

While it might seem that these are logical statements with each company being sensible regarding their decisions it can also be deemed confusing. As no casino operator would consider entering Japan if it was a guaranteed loss.  

One can also imagine that these comments can send mixed messages to investors regarding the investment prospects.  

On the other hand it might also be a case of sour grapes as other companies such as the Galaxy Entertainment Group and MGM Resorts International seem as keen as ever. It has been reported that MGM, Galaxy and Genting are the final three candidates considered for a casino license in the race for Osaka Casino. None of these operators have made any comments of scaling back their efforts.  

It might be considered a failsafe strategy where dampening expectations might create a more positive reaction if Sands or Wynn ends up with a casino in Japan. But it is undeniable that there has been a change in the narrative especially after Caesars Entertainment withdrew from the Japan race completely.  

That being said there is still much excitement surrounding Japanese Casinos and the promise of Japanese gaming.

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