Paradise Co., who with gaming company Sega Sammy operate the Paradise City casino in South Korea, is considering extending the partnership to compete for an integrated resort (IR) license in Japan.
Inside Asian Gaming reported Paradise President and CEO Park Pyung-yong is mulling over bidding for one of three licenses the Japanese government is expected to issue next year.
When asked if partnering with Sega Sammy was in the cards, Park answered, “Yes. It’s not a commitment, but it’s some kind of sentiment. But it’s not confirmed.”
He added, however, that the possible joint venture wasn’t in fear of losing Japanese customers to the Japanese IRs. “Some people think Japanese high rollers may not come to Korea, but Japanese high rollers may be very cautious about their playing… I think Japanese high rollers won’t go to their local casino. Our VIP clients in Japan will still come to Korea,” he explained.
As early as October, Sega Sammy indicated its interest in participating in the new market. It released an integrated report for 2018, in which it said it has been acquiring expertise in the various fields related to putting up a casino resort. The company purchased the Phoenix Seagaia Resort in 2012, and has been a partner of Paradise in running Paradise City since April 2017.
Sega Sammy Chairman and CEO Hajime Satomi has said that he was intent on “the Group to hold the majority of projects” when the licenses are issued.
Based on a Kyodo News survey, only three of 67 eligible local governments in Japan have been unequivocal in their desire to host an IR: Osaka, Wakayama, and Nagasaki. Several others expressed interest but without definite plans revealed.
Even though the Japanese Diet approved the IR legislation last July, citizens remain divided over the issue. Public approval for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has expressed support for the IR law, fell by double digits in the month leading to the measure’s ratification.
Citizens in Yokohama, whose government has presented initial plans for an IR, have overwhelmingly opposed the idea.
Paradise, which also operates the Busan, Jeju Grand, and Walkerhill casinos in South Korea, reported a revenue of $570.6 million for 2018, up 15.8% year on year.