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Esports officially arrives in Japan, home of game giants

George Miller

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Esports officially arrives in Japan
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A crowd cheers, banging on balloons, in front of glitzy stages, each with a giant screen. The rising stars at the sprawling Makuhari Messe hall are the quietly seated men in hoodies and T-shirts, with names like Noppi and Refresh, jiggling on buttons and grimacing at screens.

Esports has officially arrived in Japan.

Although Japan is home to video game giants like Nintendo Corp., Sony Corp. and Bandai Namco, massive game fans as well as individual star game players, it’s surprisingly behind the rest of the world in esports — professional game-playing recognized as a sport that’s vibrant in the U.S. and Europe.

But with talk that elite computer gaming may become an official Olympic sport, Japan is determined to catch up.

Esports has become a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games, a sign that mainstream recognition is growing. Global esports fans are estimated to number 500 million by 2020, according to game-market researcher Newzoo.

Japan Esports Union, or JESU, was launched Feb. 1 to promote esports, issue licenses to professional players in Japan, standardize rules and qualifications and support and nurture future players. The union has won the backing of Japan’s game software makers as well as technology companies, such as video-sharing niconico.

That means big money can be legally up for grabs at tournaments, expected to spring up here, with powerful sectors at work to make sure esports is booming in Japan.

Game Party Japan 2018, at Makuhari, in the Tokyo suburb of Chiba, began Saturday and continues through Sunday as the first esports event after JESU was set up. The biggest cash prize goes to the winner of mobile game Monster Strike at 8 million yen ($73,000).

One reason Japan fell behind the rest of the world in esports is that Japanese game fans tend to play solitary games, like role-playing games, in contrast to the contest-style games that thrive in esports in the rest of the world, said JESU Vice President Hirokazu Hamamura.

But the appeal of watching esports is much like regular sports, such as soccer or baseball, Hamamura and other advocates say.

It’s the story that is there,” he said.

Leopold Chung, an official with the International Esports Federation, or IeSF, which promotes esports, was at the weekend event to meet with JESU officials.

Chung said that anti-doping requirements, legal help with contracts and the protection of retired players are crucial. He believes esports holds potential for places like Africa because of the ability of digital technology to bring down borders.

Because of the technology, our communities are connected,” he said.

Even esports believers acknowledge hurdles remain before “Call of Duty” can become as culturally mainstream as the 100-meter dash. Such violent games would be out at the Olympics, for one. And the Olympics’ nonprofit banner may conflict with the commercial nature of video games, they say.

It’s a great alternative for children rather than watching TV all the time,” said Chester King, chief executive of British Esports Association and eGames, who is leading the push for esports to become a legitimate sport

“It’s like chess. You never get a parent saying to a child ‘you’re playing too much chess,'” he added, stressing that video games are good for mental fitness.

At the esports finals of “Street Fighter,” winner and star player Itabashi Zangief posed before cameras and received a trophy and cash prize, after smashing his opponent in a dazzling knockout on the screen.

I played a good game, but I need to work harder,” he told the crowd.

Akihito Sato, a 28-year-old salesman, who was watching, said the appeal of esports is how quickly the satisfaction comes, unlike other spectator sports.

When a match gets close, it’s so exciting to watch,” said Sato. “But it’s over in something like three minutes. It’s instant.”

 

Source: abcnews.go.com

George Miller started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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Asia

Jiangsu Police cracks illegal online gambling racket

Niji Ng

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Jiangsu Police cracks illegal online gambling racket
Photo Credits: Reuters
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Police in Jiangsu, China, has cracked a sophisticated gambling racket who were providing illegal online gambling services. The racket is believed to have dealt with a massive CNY7.8 billion (approximately $1.1 billion in wagers over the course of last few years.

The probe into this racket was launched more than two years ago, after receiving a tip-off. So far, the police have arrested 56 persons.

With very few exceptions, gambling is illegal across China. However, operators of illegal gambling operations have been circumventing existing prohibitions for years, becoming more and more resourceful in their approaches to Chinese customers.

In the case of the Jiangsu illegal gambling ring, those involved were found to have operated a betting website the servers of which were based in the Philippines. Locating an illegal operation abroad is a traditional practice among operators of illegal betting and gaming websites.

As mentioned above, as many as 56 individuals were arrested on illegal gambling charges over the course of the investigation. According to police records, the gambling ring earned more than CNY650 million in profits.

The betting website was based in the Philippines and had more than 114,000 registered customers. Four prime suspects were identified through bank card information, Xinhua reported yesterday.

 

Source: casinonewsdaily.com

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Hard Rock looks for real estate partner to develop IR facility in Japan

Niji Ng

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Hard Rock looks for real estate partner to develop IR facility in Japan
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Hard Rock’s CEO for the Asia–Pacific region Ed Tracy said the company is seeking a construction or real estate partner in order to win Japanese IR license.

“We expect that even though it’s not outlined in the legislation that you have to have local partners, it just makes good sense,” Mr Tracy said in an interview with Bloomberg Television and added: “Significantly in Japan real estate costs are pretty high on a global scale, so a real estate partner would be great, and obviously a construction partner. That’s kind of the starting point.”

The Hard Rock executive also explained that the company, which “has significant content and technology partners that are Japanese based,” is focused on developing its IR in Hokkaido: “Our evaluation shows us that Tomakomai city is exactly the right place… We’ve been forming partnerships there and we’ve been working very hard with a tourism company,” he said.

 

Source: focusgn.com

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Vietnam to cut hassles for industries, including gambling industry

Niji Ng

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Vietnam to cut hassles for industries, including gambling industry
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Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) has proposed a series of cuts to bureaucracy and red tape hassles for a wide range of industries, including the betting, casino and lottery industries.

The MoF is believed to have proposed a cut of around 51.4 per cent of the business investment commissions under its control. It would also modify 16 decrees, which could be beneficial for insurance, gaming, accounting, customs and securities verticals.

The outlets did not specify exactly what could be stripped out or amended. However, the mere fact that the MoF wants to make monumental changes is a step in the right direction. It has the potential to reinvigorate the gambling industry and comes after regulators have made several changes to gambling-related legislation.

Vietnam approved a measure last December that would allow locals to gamble in two casinos during a three-year trial programme. Currently, casinos are only open to foreign gamblers. While the casinos have yet to be designated, it is believed that the Phu Quoc resort as well as a project in the Quang Ninh province could be included in the pilot programme.

More recently, the country gave sports betting a nod. In May, it approved new gambling regulations that now cover a variety of sports and would see new players enter the industry. The law is expected to take effect January 1 of next year and would provide the framework for a five-year pilot programme that allows local gamblers to place bets on international soccer games, as well as horse- and dog-racing.

Vietnam also loosened its grip on the casino industry in May when it awarded its first casino license in more than a decade. That license went to Laguna Lăng Cô for its $2-billion resort project in the Thua Thien Hue province. The resort initially opened five years ago, and has been hoping ever since to be granted a casino license. Even though it has the license in hand, Laguna Lăng Cô is not yet dealing cards or handing out chips. The casino would not be ready until 2022.

 

Source: calvinayre.com

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