Posts Tagged ‘Japan casino legalization’

Japan curbs casino enthusiasm

June 11, 2022

Hokkaido is among leading Japan tourist destinations that chose not to seek a casino resort. (Photo credit: Japan National Tourism Organization)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed casino legalization for Japan in 2013, prompting unprecedented excitement among gaming companies across the globe. After a nearly a decade of delays, diffidence and grassroots dissent, Japan has two bids for three licenses, with leading casino companies and top tourist destinations, including Tokyo and Hokkaido island, choosing to pass. Across the board efforts to curb Japan casino enthusiasm have been breathtaking.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is Asia editor at large at ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes, columnist for Asia Times and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about TV news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook, Twitter @MuhammadCohen and LinkedIn.

Global casino leaders can still rediscover Japan

October 27, 2021

Japan Fuji

Japanese authorities have made creating integrated resorts a mountainous task. Photo credit: JNTO

Hopes of creating the next big thing in Asian gaming skyrocketed as Japan began moving toward casino legalization in 2013. That enthusiasm has dissipated over these past eight years for a variety of reasons, and the smart money now bets building integrated resorts in Japan for billions of dollars won’t pay off.

I’ve been part of the negative wave that’s swept the Japan casino contest, due to culminate in the national government licensing up to three IRs next year. I’ve suggested that Japan stop the IR process to rewrite the rules and that authorities only award one IR license among the three current contenders, hoping for more attractive candidates to emerge later.

Then in late September, Caesars Entertainment, the largest US casino operator, rejoined the Japan IR race as the proposed casino operator for Wakayama prefecture’s IR bid. That’s the best news for Japan’s IR supporters in years. Caesars created the themed IR concept with Caesars Palace 55 years ago, and Harrah’s, which bought Caesars in 2004 before Eldorado Resorts bought the combined company last year, invented the modern casino customer rewards program.

Caesars’ return to Japan – it dropped out the bidding at the time of the Eldorado purchase – is a reminder that Japan remains the world’s third largest economy, and it boasted rapidly growing international visitor arrivals pre-Covid. It’s also a reminder that defying conventional wisdom about Macau remade the global casino business two decades ago. Japan could have similar impact, despite what the smart money says.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a columnist for ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes, a columnist/correspondent for Asia Times, 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.

Ex-Sands exec Weidner attacked in Japan role

September 2, 2021

Wakayama Palace stands tall in the prefecture bidding for a Japan casino license. (Photo courtesy Wakayama Prefecture)

Former Las Vegas Sands president and COO William Weidner may be the most accomplished gaming executive still in the business. Weidner’s 14 years with LVS included building its Vegas Strip Venetian complex, gaining entry to Macau, developing Cotai as world’s most lucrative casino cluster, winning a license in Singapore and conceiving what’s become the world’s most admired integrated resort there. So Weidner provided instant credibility when he joined Canadian private equity investor Clairvest’s effort to win an integrated resort license in Wakayama Prefecture near Osaka.

Perhaps, then, it shouldn’t be surprising that Weidner came under attack via anonymous documents recounting legal settlements of US government charges against Las Vegas Sands during his tenure. The documents may aim to weaken Wakayama’s IR bid, but it’s equally likely they stem from a long running dispute involving Weidner’s Global Gaming Asset Management firm and Philippine billionaire Enrique Razon’s Bloomberry Resorts, or a Taiwan’s American Asian Entertainment’s US$12 billion lawsuit against LVS over termination of their Macau partnership, in which Weidner was a leading actor but is not a party to the litigation.

In any case, the attack is another ugly aspect of Japan’s casino legalization saga that has limited public support and gotten the cold shoulder from leading international casino companies and Japan’s largest cities and tourist destinations.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a columnist for ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes and Inside Asian Gaming, columnist/correspondent for Asia Times, 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.

Singapore icon set for expansion

March 26, 2020

Heading the symbol of 21st century Singapore, Marina Bay Sands President and CEO George Tanasijevich maps out expansion strategy for the world’s most profitable casino resort.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming, contributor to Forbes, columnist/correspondent for Asia Times, 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.

Old Macau thinking rules casino license expiry

December 28, 2018

The Macau government won’t say what will happen with casino concessions expiring in 2020. That’s one reason casino shares are tanking.

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.

Trump aids Adelson Japan casino quest: report

October 26, 2018

Non-profit investigative reporting group ProPublica contends that the Trump administration is trying to help major donor Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands win a Japan casino license. The article by Justin Elliott says Adelson has “unprecedented” access and influence in the Trump White House, according to an old Washington hand. But that may not help in Japan.

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 casinos face new Diet date

October 15, 2018

The road to casino legalization in Japan still runs through the legislature. If all goes to plan, the first integrated resort location and developers may be known in 2021 and open four years later.

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 camp cool on hot idea

June 26, 2018

Casino legalization is Japan nearly complete. But a key Japan integrated resorts advocate shoots down an idea to drive tourism through competition.

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 can create its own great casino resorts

June 15, 2018

As Japan moves toward legalized gaming in integrated resorts, Macau casinos are counting on a piece of the action. They may be playing a losing hand.

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 hits pachinko harder than casinos will

May 21, 2018

In an effort to prove they can be tough on problem gambling, just in case of casino legalization, Japanese authorities have cracked on pachinko payouts. That low blow will further shrink the uniquely Japanese phenomenon of pinball amid cacophony, video and smoke that’s lost two-thirds of its players since 1995 but still brings in US$33 billion in gross revenue.

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.


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