It appears that more casino operators are starting to get serious about wanting to operate in Japan. Rush Street just announced a couple of days ago that it would be bidding on an integrated license (IR) in the country and, now, Sega Sammy Holdings hopes to get in on the action. The Japan-based entertainment conglomerate needs a little assistance, though, and is looking for what it calls the “most appropriate partner” to place the bid.
During a presentation that was reportedly published last week on the company’s second-quarter results, Sega Sammy executives segued into the subject of the IR bid. They indicated that they expect the bidding process to begin sometime in 2019, or maybe 2020, and that it would “prepare for formulating plans in line with such timing.”
The company, among other operations, is behind the foreigner-only Paradise City casino resort in South Korea. It has previously stated that it was using that facility as a learning tool to better understand resort management ahead of a possible IR bid.
It doesn’t appear that Sega Sammy is ready to take the bull by the horns, however. The company’s CEO, Hajime Satomi, has asserted that the company’s primary goal is to be a majority owner of a possible casino project in Japan. He said this past October, “I want the group to hold the majority of [such] projects and develop businesses in a broad range of fields with casino operations as the central focus.”
In discussing the possibility of entering the IR market last week, company executives further indicated that it might consider expanding on the Paradise City brand if its operations in South Korean prove to be successful. However, they pointed out that this doesn’t necessarily mean that it is ready to partner with Paradise Co. for the Japanese IR. They explained, “For a Japanese integrated resort, we would like to find the most appropriate partner including other collaborative operators as the partnership with Paradise group has not been decided.”
Whether or not Japan will be ready to begin the bidding process next year remains to be seen. There has been a dedicated push by casino operators and city managers alike to move the process along, but there are a lot of moving parts that need to be put in place first. Even after the bidding process begins and the operators and locations are decided, it will more than likely be another five years before the first IR opens its doors.