Posts Tagged ‘Japan casino legalization’

Japan must get real about casinos, opponents

June 22, 2017

Failure to agree on a gambling addiction legislation earlier this month is another indication that Japanese officials haven’t gotten serious about casino legalization. They seem convinced public opposition to casinos will evaporate.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes, editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Pachinko mogul seeks Japan casino in Korea

April 9, 2017

Sega Sammy Chairman Hajime Satomi is backing South Korea’s first integrated resort, opening this month, in hope of getting a casino license in Japan, which until recently seemed like an impossible dream.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes, editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Genting Singapore switches casino bet to Japan from Korea

December 5, 2016

Resort World Sentosa owner Genting Singapore sells its half of a South Korea integrated resort to gamble on Japan casino legalization, which has made unprecedented progress since Genting’s announcement.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes, editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Japan casino prospects fade despite good cards

February 27, 2015

Reasons for Japan to legalize casinos keeping growing along with the country’s burgeoning debt and quarter century long economic malaise. Yet Japan casino legalization seems less likely than a year ago, international observers say. Supporters in Japan remain optimistic, and a study of potential casino impacts has been commissioned – maybe.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Japan vote could boost casino hopes

December 13, 2014

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to legalize casinos for Japan as part of his economic revival plan known as Abenomics. In Sunday’s vote, his Liberal Democratic Party’s expected landslide victory could give new momentum to casino legalization, but only if Abe and his allies begin convincing the Japanese public that casinos are a good idea.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Macau tests the strength of its brands

January 25, 2014

Macau casino owners know how to build fabulous resorts but not necessarily strong brands. Leading casino operators SJM Holdings and Sands China Ltd run their properties under a variety of names, without any unifying theme or brand promise.

“A brand must offer a consistent brand promise,” Gaming Marketing Advisors principal Andrew Klebanow explains. “It must also offer a clear image in the customer’s mind. By buying a branded product the customer has a high degree of assurance what he/she is buying.” Klebanow cites McDonald’s – “the product will be hot, tasty, served fast and offer good value” – and Hard Rock – “hip environment, rock music and glass showcases filled with rock memorabilia” – as successful brands. Macau casinos, with the exception of Wynn Macau, mainly have property names that have not yet evolved into brands.

Casino owners hope to change that. Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd will bring its City of Dreams name from Macau to Manila at a new integrated resort expected to open this year. Brand Stand (Macau Business, December 2013, page 64, payment required) looks at the prospects for its success and for brand building in Macau.

The article also examines the history of the Sands brand. Sands China parent Las Vegas Sands Corp was the last owner of the iconic Sands Hotel and Casino, playground of Hollywood’s legendary Rat Pack and its 1960s successor, The Summit, led by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. While Sands survived as a corporate name after hotel’s implosion in 1995 and appears on some of the company’s properties, it hasn’t reemerged as a brand.

Macau companies do have a successful Asian example to follow, Resorts World, part of Malaysia’s Genting Group. In less than five years, Resorts World has become the first truly global casino brand, with outposts in Asia, the US, and Europe, though not Macau. As Macau’s casino companies try to spread their wings in the region, particularly Asian gaming’s great white whale, Japan (Macau Business, October 2013, pg 86), brands will become a bigger factor. Last month, Japan began its long road to casino legalization (Macau Business, January 2014, page 78, payment required), with the outcome still uncertain. Brands provide a comfort level for governments as well as investors. Like customers, brands help them believe they can know in advance what they’ll get from a casino company.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Japan shuffles toward legal casinos

December 9, 2013

The land of the rising sun is the land of rising hopes for the world’s casino industry. As I wrote in Whale hunting, Japan style (see page 86), the world’s third largest economy is the last great frontier for gaming, and virtually every casino company in the world wants to be in it. Macau casino companies keep upping the ante, with spending pledges for a Japan project reaching $5 billion.

The article in the October issue of Macau Business points out there’s already a well-established market for gambling, including pachinko parlors with illegal payoff windows next door, Yakuza-run remote broadcast of live casino games from legal gaming jurisdictions, and the world’s most heavily bet horse racing.

For years, Japanese politicians have said that it’s time to make casinos legal, most notably Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who promised to push for casino legalization during his previous, truncated term succeeding Junichiro Koizumi in 2006. Last week, his ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) introduced casino legislation, and the long anticipated bill is widely expected to pass. This time, casinos are packaged as part of Abenomics, the prime minister’s plan to reform Japan’s economy and lift it out of its quarter century long doldrums.

The draft casino bill outlines a multilayered process for bringing casinos to Japan. The national bureaucracy will draft the rules, while local governments weigh whether they want casinos in their jurisdictions. Against the promise of investment, jobs and (mainly domestic) tourists, there’s the perception of gambling as a seedy activity, embodied by pachinko parlors with their legacy of money laundering, drugs and bribery. Japan’s National Police oppose casino legalization, along with some civic organizations, Buddhist groups and fringe opposition parties.

Gambling also has a reputation for government boondoggles, embodied in overbuilt publicly funded speedboat race courses and overstaffing at horse tracks. A government sponsored theme park construction initiative, with similar goals to casino development, fizzled into a puddle of wasted public money.

Mix in Japan’s inherent social conservatism, and, despite politicians’ support, casinos face an uphill fight. The seven year tease for the world’s casino companies may be over soon, or it may have only just begun.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.


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