Genting Group Focused on Japan, Predicts ‘Fierce’ Bidding War

Posted on: April 10, 2018, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: April 10, 2018, 11:30h.

Genting Group Chairman Lim Kok Thay says in his conglomerate’s annual report that the company is focused on bidding Japan and obtaining one of the country’s forthcoming integrated casino resort licenses.

Genting Group Japan casino
Lim Kok Thay has added Genting Group to the list of casino companies readying to bid on Japan. (Image: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg)

The Malaysian billionaire reveals the corporation has established an office in Tokyo to lead such efforts, and ¥20.0 billion ($186.8 million) has been earmarked to support activities leading up to the bidding process. Genting also states that it believes Japan’s legislative body will unveil its long-awaited integrated resorts (IR) measure during this year’s session.

The company predicts, “Many global gaming operators have pronounced their very keen interest to bid, and Genting … will be facing fierce competition for the limited number of licenses.”

Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment, Melco Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Hard Rock, and Wynn Resorts are just some of the other companies that are prepping Japan casino blueprints.

Genting Group is a Malaysian conglomerate headquartered in Kuala Lumpur. Along with its casinos, the company is invested in plantations and oil mills, real estate, energy, science, and biotechnology industries.

Genting owns and operates casino resorts in Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, United Kingdom, and United States.

Resorts World Japan

Japan’s National Diet is finally making progress on its casino regulatory bill. And details are emerging.

The legislation is expected to initially authorize three integrated resorts in three different cities. Japan citizens will be required to pay a 6,000-yen entrance fee ($56) per visit, with a monthly cap of 10 trips. Foreigners will be granted free entry. Gross gaming revenue will be taxed at 30 percent.

Genting Group is expected to push its Resorts World brand, which currently operates in Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and the US.

The company opened its $900 million Resorts World Catskills in February 2018 in New York, and is currently constructing a multibillion-dollar resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

That bodes well for Genting, as Japanese lawmakers are reportedly basing their IR regulations off Singapore’s. One main licensing requirement in the Asian nation’s gaming law is that casino operators have international experience.

Japanese lawmakers additionally stated in their 2016 IR shell bill that only companies “with high morals, a sense of responsibility, and a clean nature” should be considered.

Potential Cities

Japanese financial research firm Nomura Holdings opined recently that Osaka, Yokohama, Nagasaki, and island of Hokkaido are the frontrunners for the integrated casino resorts. Genting Group’s annual report partially supports that belief.

In its disclosure, Genting reveals dozens of newly formed subsidiaries. They include Resorts World Japan Co. and Resorts World Osaka. But then there’s Resorts World Tokyo Co., a hint that the conglomerate might be targeting Japan’s capital and largest city.

That comes as little surprise considering the Greater Tokyo Area is the most populated metropolis in the world with nearly 38 million people.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe directed his controlling Liberal Democratic Party to authorize the commercial casinos in an effort to make the country more tourism-oriented. But the mandate was also to spur economic growth in places where such activity is needed. That certainly doesn’t refer to Tokyo, a city that’s home to numerous multibillion-dollar corporations including Honda, Toshiba, and Sony.