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Las Vegas Sands Discontinues Japanese IR Bid

Niji Narayan

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Las Vegas Sands Discontinues Japanese IR Bid
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US Gaming operator Las Vegas Sands has decided to pull out of the race for Integrated Resort development in Japan. The company’s concerns about the regulatory framework devised by the Japanese government seem to be the reason for the exit.

“While my positive feelings for Japan are undiminished, and I believe the country would benefit from the business and leisure tourism generated by an Integrated Resort, the framework around the development of an IR has made our goals there unreachable,” Sands Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sheldon G. Adelson. said in the announcement.

‘We are grateful for all of the friendships we have formed and the strong relationships we have in Japan, but it is time for our company to focus our energy on other opportunities’

Sands was one of the frontrunners to win the IR project.  The company was tipped to develop an integrated resort in Tokyo or Yokohama, after opting out of the race in Osaka.

The Japanese government is moving ahead with the tender process despite the Covid-19-induced hindrance.

Some of the requirements by the government are viewed as strict. According to the government specifications, resorts would only be permitted to have gambling facilities covering 3% of the total floor space, at least 100,000 square metres to guest rooms, and must include cultural facilities that make them more attractive to tourists, such as theatres, music halls, cinemas, museums and restaurants.

The Japanese government has also indicated that it would consider IR operator’s business soundness and financial stability, as well as how far it has forged close-knit ties with the local communities with operators having to commit to making use of its casino business profits to give back to the local community, while also ensuring that gambling risks can be contained.

Asia

Wynn Resorts Ltd Closes its Yokohama Office

Niji Narayan

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Wynn Resorts Ltd Closes its Yokohama Office
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Wynn Resorts Ltd has closed its Yokohama office after Japan’s plans to award casino licenses were delayed, but remains interested in the project.

“The pandemic is having an unprecedented negative impact on integrated resort development, and resort companies such as Wynn are considering how we evolve our operations to align with a post-pandemic market. Long term, we remain interested in the Japan integrated resort market and will monitor the situation closely,” the company said in a statement.

Wynn has been pursuing a casino in Japan for years. The country had been considered one of the biggest prizes in the industry, given Japan’s population and wealth. Japanese legislators approved the country’s first Vegas-style casino developments, known as integrated resorts, but none have yet been built.

A decision to focus on the U.S. market prompted Caesars Entertainment Corp. to end its pursuit of a Japanese casino last year. Las Vegas Sands Corp. said in May that it was also pulling out of the race, citing high tax rates, unfavourable terms and the cost of building there, which many have put at $10 billion.

MGM Resorts International, the lone remaining bidder for a casino in Osaka, said last week that it will continue to pursue the project despite delays in the process that could last until next year.

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Asia

Yokohama Mayor: Local IR Plans Must Wait on Central Government Policy

Niji Narayan

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Yokohama Mayor: Local IR Plans Must Wait on Central Government Policy
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Fumiko Hayashi, the Mayor of Yokohama, has acknowledged that her city’s implementation policies, originally scheduled for publication in June, must wait until after the central government finally issues its long-overdue IR Basic Plan.

She added that any prospect that her city could publish its implementation policies by the end of August had now dried up.

“We are closely watching the situation,” she added.

Doubts are growing that the national government will stick to the current timeline of accepting IR licensing applications from the local governments between January and July of next year, though the Abe administration has yet to give a clear indication of its intentions.

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Asia

PAGCOR Reports US$48 Million Loss in Q2 2020

Niji Narayan

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PAGCOR Reports US$48 Million Loss in Q2 2020
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Philippine gaming regulator PAGCOR has reported a loss of US$32.5 million in the six months to 30 June 2020.

While PAGCOR did not break down its 1H20 financials by quarter, it had previously reported a net income of US$15.8 million for the first three months of 2020, suggesting a loss of US$48.4 million during Q2.

PAGCOR reported income from gaming operations of Php18.44 billion in the first six months of this year, down 49.6% fromUS$714.5 million in the same period in 2019. US$350.4 million of that income was generated in Q1 2020, meaning income from gaming operations totaled just US$24.8 million in Q2 2020.

The regulator said its income from licensed casinos totaled US$138.4 million – none of which was generated in the second quarter, while income from POGO operations was US$59.4 million of which US$22.6 million was second-quarter income.

Gaming operations across the Philippines were shut down on March 15 after President Rodrigo Duterte implemented community quarantine across the main island of Luzon. While some areas have since been allowed to reopen, the national capital region comprising metro Manila remains under strict general community quarantine with casinos and other gaming venues having now been closed for more than four months.

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