Japanese Gaming Manufacturer Universal Entertainment Unveils Multicurrency Devices at Okada Manila Casino

Posted on: July 22, 2019, 12:16h. 

Last updated on: July 22, 2019, 12:16h.

Japan-based Universal Entertainment has developed gaming terminals that accept numerous currencies, and the devices will soon be deployed to the company’s Okada Manila casino in the Philippines.

Universal Entertainment Okada Manila casino
Dollars, yen, won, and more can soon be deposited into various slot machines at Okada Manila thanks to new products from Universal Entertainment. (Image: Akira Kodaka/Nikkei Asian Review)

In a filing made with the JASDAQ stock market, Universal says it has developed gaming machines that accept various currencies including Philippines pesos, US dollars, Hong Kong dollars, Chinese yuan, South Korean won, Japanese yen, and euro. The company says the terminals can remove and add certain currencies via settings on the equipment.

Up to now, it was only allowed to play any gaming machine using the bills of the country where a casino is operated or those of certain countries,” Universal explained in the filing. “This system has significant features enabling the use of bills of various foreign countries to save the time and effort of currency exchange, which will improve casino players’ convenience, and at the same time, significantly reducing the personnel cost associated with the money exchange services.”

A predetermined exchange rate will be applied to all conversions. Universal says the innovative machines are in adherence with regulations set forth by the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

Security Concerns

The new product from Universal Entertainment raises concerns about money laundering – the illegal process of concealing the origins of ill-gotten money through complex transactions to make the funds appear legitimate.

Universal says the devices feature various functions to prevent money laundering, but only explain that a “setting can be changed such as various restrictions being placed for the use of foreign currencies at the gaming machines. If there are any matters that need to be announced in the future regarding the impact of this … we will promptly notify thereof.”

Universal’s multicurrency gaming machines will soon occupy floor space on the company’s integrated casino resort. Okada Manila – a $2.4 billion complex that opened in 2016 – has more than 3,000 slot machines and 500 table games.

The United Nations said last week that casinos in Southeast Asia including in the Philippines lack the appropriate safeguards to prevent money laundering. “Many of these casinos emerged after a crackdown on money laundering activities in Macau, China, in 2014, raising concerns that a ‘displacement’ of criminal activities associated with casinos has taken place to Southeast Asia,” the UN declared.

Okada Scandal

Universal Entertainment’s board is amid a high-profile power struggle following the ousting of its founder, billionaire “Pachinko King” Kazuo Okada. The 77-year-old Japanese tycoon has been charged with stealing money from the company and its subsidiaries.

Okada was removed from the role of Universal chairman by his own family in June 2017. He’s trying to regain control, but a Japanese court ruled last week that his ousting was lawful, and his claims of being wrongly terminated were “groundless.”

Universal is mulling a rebranding of Okada Manila in an effort to distance itself from its founder.