Macau-based casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd and Monaco casino firm Société des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Étrangers à Monaco, also known as SBM, announced on Wednesday the formal establishment of a strategic partnership between the two firms.
“This partnership includes a mutual commitment… to work together on the development and operation of entertainment businesses including integrated resort projects in the Asia‑Pacific region,” namely in Japan, the firms said in a joint press release.
The document added: “With the recent passage of the Integrated Resort Promotion Bill in Japan in December 2016, both companies look forward to the possibility of collaborative efforts to design, develop and operate an integrated resort in Japan.”
Galaxy Entertainment acquired a 5-percent stake, for EUR40 million (US$43.9 million), in SBM, in July 2015. At the time, the firms already had announced plans to establish what was termed a strategic partnership.
The acquisition of a stake in SBM was Galaxy Entertainment’s first – and so far only – significant gaming investment outside of Macau. The firm operates casino resort Galaxy Macau and the adjoining Broadway Macau, in Cotai, and casino hotel StarWorld, on the Macau peninsula.
The chairman of Galaxy Entertainment reiterated in February previous suggestions that the firm was interested in bidding for a gaming business in Japan, even as it prepares to expand its Macau operations. Lui Che Woo added that the company would in likelihood join forces with local partners if it eventually bids for a Japan casino licence.
Several investment analysts covering the gaming sector have suggested that foreign casino operators will have to find local partners in order to be able to bid for a casino licence in Japan.
Most major global casino operators have expressed an interest in developing an integrated resort – including a casino – in Japan. The list of potential suitors includes Las Vegas Sands Corp, MGM Resorts International, Genting Singapore Plc and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd.
Monaco-based SBM is listed on the Euronext Paris securities market, France’s main bourse. The principality’s government is the firm’s largest shareholder. SBM’s casino properties comprise: Casino de Monte-Carlo (pictured); Casino Café de Paris; Sun Casino; and Monte-Carlo Bay Casino.
The firm’s portfolio also includes several hotel properties: Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo; Hotel Hermitage Monte-Carlo; Monte-Carlo Beach; and Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort.
Commenting on the strategic partnership, SBM chairman and chief executive Jean-Luc Biamonti said: “Galaxy Entertainment’s success in Asia will certainly be a valuable enhancement to SBM’s portfolio.”
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