Casino operators jostle for position ahead of Japan license bidding

Casino operators jostle for position ahead of Japan license bidding

Global gambling operators are making strategic business maneuvers in Japan as they gear up for the bidding of the country’s first casino licenses.

Casino operators Genting Singapore Ltd. and Melco Resorts & Entertainment reaffirmed their interest in expanding their business footprint in Japan this week, just days after the country’s Diet enacted the Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill.

Casino operators jostle for position ahead of Japan license biddingIn a disclosure to the Singapore Stock Exchange on Wednesday, Genting Singapore announced that it had incorporated five of its indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries in Japan: Genting Japan Co., Ltd.; Genting Tokyo Co., Ltd.; Genting Osaka Co., Ltd.; Genting Yokohama Co., Ltd.; and Resorts World Yokohama Co., Ltd.

Genting Singapore, considered one of the main contenders for Japan casino license, said the incorporation was part of its preparation for the looming bidding wars.

The Malaysian casino operator said the newly incorporated companies’ principal activities “will be that of development and management of integrated resort and leisure destinations; marketing and promotion of integrated resort and leisure destinations; and investments and management of real estate and trust beneficiary interests.”

Meanwhile, Melco Resorts Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho told investment analysts on Tuesday that Japan is still the company’s core focus as he expects the bidding process to likely start “late next year” at the earliest.

Ho said the company will be devoting “a huge amount of resource on Japan,” which he viewed to be the most attractive integrated resort opportunity that is available globally.

The Melco boss believes that the firm’s focus on “the Asian premium segment, high quality assets, craftsmanship, dedication to world-class entertainment offering, market-leading social safeguards system” will put them in a strong position to help Japan realize its first integrated resorts.

Last week, the Japanese Diet enacted a bill into law on integrated resorts, which include casinos, despite persistent objections from opposition parties. Except for Morgan Stanley, financial and gambling analysts have estimated that Japan’s potential gambling market could be worth more than $20 billion.