Now that Japan is a step closer to legalizing casinos, foreign investors may have already started forming links with their local counterparts in order to jointly bid for a Japanese casino license.
And one firm that is well-positioned for such kind of strategic investment is pachinko hall operator Dynam Japan Holdings Co Ltd., according to brokerage Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd.
Union Gaming Securities Asia analyst Grant Govertsen said the pachinko hall operator is “has significant unrealized value as it is ripe for strategic investment on the part of an international IR operator.”
“The company is well positioned for M&A opportunities as one of the largest and well-capitalized operators,” Govertsen said in a note. “[It also] has option value as a front-runner to win a small-scale regional IR license in Japan.”
Because its pachinko parlors are located in areas “that will not be in close proximity” to an integrated resort, Union Gaming believes Dynam will be “largely insulated from any negative impacts” of the IR development in the country. Only 6 percent of Dynam’s parlors are located in the prefectures that are being considered as potential candidates to host Japan’s first integrated resorts—namely Tokyo and Osaka. In comparison, Dynam’s rivals—Maruhan and GAIA—have 24 percent and 56 percent, respectively, of their parlors located in the same prefectures.
“Dynam has one of the largest data sets of gaming-related customers and customer behavior based on its nearly 50 years of operations and market-leading position in terms of number of parlors operated. Given our belief that Japan integrated resort revenues will be driven primarily by locals it would make sense for a potential integrated resort developer to make a strategic investment in Dynam,” Govertsen said.
Dynam disclosed in 2015 its plans to enter the “resort development business” in Japan. At the time, the company said it was looking at a land in Shimonoseki, the largest city of Yamaguchi prefecture, as its target site for development. Union Gaming forecast Dynam to be a frontrunner for a regional IR license, especially if such license is available in the Yamaguchi prefecture, where the company has “very strong ties.”
“We also note that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also a native of Yamaguchi, which could give the prefecture an advantage as it relates to becoming an IR host community,” the brokerage stated. “A native Japanese company that already has exposure to and knowledge of the gaming industry should have a distinct advantage in any regional small-scale IR RFP process.”