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“Huge Net Cash Pile” Could Win Genting Singapore a Coveted Japan Casino License

Genting Singapore has a significant chance to win a license for the operation of an integrated resort with a casino floor in Japan, a report by research firm Maybank Kim Eng says.

Japan has just completed its two-phase casino gambling legalization process to lay the foundations for the creation of what analysts believe could be the next major global gambling hub. The Diet’s Upper House approved last Friday the so-called Integrated Resort Implementation Bill that basically sets out the principles under which the nation’s nascent casino industry will function. Last week’s approval followed a June vote on the bill by the Japanese government’s Lower House.

Cited by Malaysia newspaper The Star, Maybank says in its recent report that Genting Singapore could win one of the three casino licenses the Japanese government plans to issue as part of its casino legalization effort. The research house believes that the major gaming and hospitality company’s current net position and experience in providing socially responsible gambling services could win it a spot in the establishment of Japan’s casino gaming market.

Genting Singapore is subsidiary of Malaysian casino and hospitality giant Genting Group. Genting Singapore currently operates Resorts World Sentosa, one Singapore’s two integrated resorts.

Maybank says in its report that with a “huge net cash pile of S$3 billion” (approximately $2.2 billion) reported in the first quarter of the year, the Singapore-based company has a better financial position than many of its debt-laden American rivals. Bearing this in mind, Genting Singapore could be better financed to complete the construction of a major integrated resort in Japan, the research firm’s report goes on.

Responsible Gambling a Further Advantage for Genting Singapore

Despite its recent approval in the Japanese Diet, the legalization of casino gambling in the country has been met with staunch opposition by lawmakers and members of the population. The potential increase in the number of gambling addicts as a result from the upcoming gambling expansion has been one of the main points commented on by critics of the move.

Working on the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill, the Japanese government also crafted regulations and rules that were aimed at protecting the country’s population from overexposure to gambling. The measures introduced include a limit to the number of visits allowed per month. Japanese nationals will thus not be able to visit the nation’s casinos more than three times per week and more than ten times per month. They will also be required to pay an admission fee of JPY6,000 in order to be admitted to the casino floors.

Under the country’s recently approved gambling law, the gaming portions of the future integrated resorts should not occupy more than 3% of the total area of the properties.

Maybank notes in its report that Japan’s responsible gambling measures were largely crafted after Singapore’s. The island city-state introduced its casino gambling laws in the mid-2000s. Its two integrated resorts opened doors in 2010 and have been required to operate in full compliance with certain responsible gambling measures, among others. According to the research firm, Genting Singapore already has accumulated enough experience in operating in a strictly regulated environment and this could gain it advantage over the other bidders for Japan’s casino licenses.

The Japanese Diet has agreed to initially issue three licenses. The bidding process is expected to begin in 2019 and the winning bidders are likely to be announced in 2020. It is believed that the nation’s first integrated resorts will not open doors before the mid 2020s.

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