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Anti-IR Candidate Wins Yokohama Mayoral Election

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Plans to develop an integrated resort (IR) in Yokohama are now in doubt after anti-IR campaigner Takeharu Yamanaka won the mayoral elections held on August 22.

Takeharu Yamanaka, who was chosen as the candidate to represent the CDPJ, has cleared the 25% threshold of votes needed to avoid a second round.

The term of office of the mayor is four years, which means Yokohama is unlikely to participate in Japan’s first round of IR licences. Melco Resorts & Entertainment and Genting Singapore were the two remaining candidates to be Yokohama’s partner for its bid.

Yamanaka is 48 years old and works as a professor at Yokohama City University. He specialises in public health and medical statistics and has worked on Covid-19 countermeasures. He’s known to disagree with the development of an integrated resort, arguing that it could cause issues with gambling addiction.

Asia

Saudi’s Savvy Games and Esports Delegation Conducts High-level Visit to Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu

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HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, Chairman of the Saudi Esports Federation and Vice Chairman of Savvy Games Group (Savvy), and Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy, have this month led a senior business delegation to China. The delegation was accompanied by senior leaders from VSPO, the leading Chinese esports company, including Dino Ying, co-founder and CEO, and Danny Tang, co-founder, CFO and head of strategy.

Visiting Shanghai, Beijing and Chengdu, the delegation engaged with current and future partners in China’s games and esports industry. The visit further strengthened commercial partnerships between China, the world’s biggest esports market, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as it implements Vision 2030 and becomes a leading global hub for gaming and esports.

In 2023, Savvy, wholly owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, invested $265 million into VSPO, becoming the largest international investor. Savvy’s long-term investment is helping VSPO to continue to deliver on its global strategy and accelerate the growth of mobile esports.

The meetings in the visit also covered preparations for the inaugural Esports World Cup (EWC) which will take place in Riyadh in the summer of 2024.

HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud, Vice Chair of Savvy Games Group, said: “We learned so much from this trip. We will work with VSPO to connect global esports markets and build Saudi Arabia into the hub of the global esports and gaming market. Through long-term investment and capital deployment, we will build a sustainable and profitable global esports ecosystem.”

Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy Games Group, said: “China’s position as the largest esports market, with over 400 million fans and significant industry revenue, underlines the valuable role the Chinese market will play in supporting the continued development of Saudi Arabia’s thriving gaming and esports sector. This visit provided a valuable opportunity to strengthen Savvy’s connection with our partners at VSPO, as well as building our insights and network within one of the world’s foremost games and esports markets.”

Dino Ying, Chair of VSPO, said: “Two years ago, I communicated with Savvy for the first time in a Zoom call. At that time, I realized that although we were from two different markets, our ideas on technological innovation, the future of esports, player ecology and professionalization were very consistent. That’s why we were already thinking about how to cooperate, not whether to cooperate. Now we are more confident because we have a shared vision and a friendship, and we plan to make more innovation for the industry together with Savvy in the future.”

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Asia

PAGCOR SEEKS GCG APPROVAL TO IMPLEMENT SALARY STEP INCREMENT

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The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation said it has asked the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) for approval of salary step increments based on employees’ length of service to correct distortions caused by its new Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS).

In a letter to GCG Chairperson Atty. Marius Corpus dated February 22, 2024, PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco said the PAGCOR Board of Directors has approved the implementation of step increments but it needs GCG approval.

“Parallel to the thrust of the PAGCOR Board of Directors to prioritize the welfare of the employees, the PAGCOR Board approved the Implementation of Step Increment based on Length of Service, subject to GCG’s review and approval,” he said in the letter.

The PAGCOR chief said the step increment is only the first of many appeals that the agency plans to lodge with the GCG so that PAGCOR employees may enjoy competitive salaries and benefits comparable to other revenue-generating GOCCs.

PAGCOR received its Authority to Implement the CPCS on January 31 this year. However, majority of the employees were dismayed to see that their take-home pay decreased when they received their salaries on the first payday under CPCS on February 15, 2024.

The CPCS also caused distortions in pay scale since all employees were reverted to Pay Step 1 regardless of their years of service. This means that a new employee in a certain position gets the same salary as someone who has been in the same position for 15 years or more.

Chairman Tengco said the Step Increment appeal is only the first of many which the agency plans to lodge with the GCG to remedy the overall decrease in employees’ take home pay, especially for those who occupy the lowest rungs in the organization.

“We hope that the GCG will positively respond to our appeal so that all tenured PAGCOR employees will not feel shortchanged, and instead receive the compensation that they deserve under the bounds of the law,” he added.

A provision under the CPCS implementing guidelines states that “one step increment shall be granted to qualified personnel for every three years of continuous satisfactory service in the present position.”

Records show that as of December 31, 2023, a total of 7,057 PAGCOR personnel or 72.60% of the agency’s workforce have been in service for more than three years in their respective positions.

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Asia

BIGGER PRIZES UP FOR GRABS IN UPCOMING PAGCOR LINKED BINGO GAMES

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BINGO aficionados are in for another treat as the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) brings back its popular linked bingo games dubbed “Mas Pinasayang Bingo Big Time Milyonaryo” on March 17, 2024 at the Le Pavillon Metropolitan Park in Pasay City.

Up to Php2 million in prizes will be up for grabs in Game 10 while a guaranteed pot of Php1 million each is at stake in the first nine games of the event.

Interested players may join through the host site or at Casino Filipino branches in Angeles, Bacolod, Cebu, Grand Regal, Ilocos Norte, Iloilo, Mactan, Mandaue, Olongapo, Tagaytay, Tagum and Talisay.

For every ticket worth Php3,000, participants will get to play four cards per game for 10 games.

The “Mas Pinasayang Bingo Big Time Milyonaryo” is a fitting sequel to the “Paskong Big Time Bingo Milyonaryo” linked bingo games held last December where seven lucky players won Php1 million each.

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