The head of Genting Singapore Ltd says the company is “optimistic” as it prepares to bid for a casino licence in Japan. Lim Kok Thay – writing in the firm’s annual report in his capacity as executive chairman – gave some thoughts on the group’s chances in the race for a Japan casino permit.
Genting Singapore is the operator of the Resorts World Sentosa casino venue in Singapore. The company is a subsidiary of Malaysian conglomerate Genting Bhd.
“We are cautiously optimistic about leveraging on our experience in winning the IR [integrated resort] bid in Singapore back in 2006 that led to significant tourism growth, in order to do the same in Japan soon,” wrote Mr Lim, referring respectively to Singapore and Japan’s public policy aims in legalising casino business.
He added: “The IR industry in Japan is expected to be a stringently regulated one, so we are hopeful that our track record of operating in a very tightly regulated environment in Singapore will give us an edge over our competitors in the Japan IR bid.”
Japan took the first steps to creating a casino industry following the legalisation in December 2016 of such business. That was followed by the passage of the IR Implementation Bill last year, that stated that three resorts could open in an initial phase.
Last week, Japan’s cabinet passed a number of ordinances giving detail on some of the ground rules for Japan’s nascent casino sector, including some restrictions on advertising and the minimum amount of hotel space expected, as well as the maximum proportion of resort space allowed for gaming.
Mr Lim said additionally in the annual report that Genting Singapore’s “strong” balance sheet put the company “in good stead to embark on plans to expand … as well as to seek strategic investment opportunities in Japan, where we are actively gearing up for the bidding process for IRs”.
Since 2014, Genting Singapore – which has had experience since 2010 of operating in Singapore’s market – has been setting up a raft of subsidiaries in Japan, the latest ones in July last year.
Genting Singapore raised a total amount of JPY20 billion (US$180 million, at current exchange rates) in October 2017, via publicly-offered Japanese yen-denominated bonds.
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