Casino investor Genting Singapore Ltd has called an extraordinary general meeting to, among other items, seek approval from its shareholders to eventually submit “one or more bids for the development, operation, management and/or ownership” of a casino resort in Japan. The meeting is scheduled for February 4, it said in a Monday filing.
In supporting documentation to shareholders also filed on Monday, Genting Singapore said the company was “seeking the approval of shareholders to submit a proposed bid with respect to any one prefecture or city with an investment amount not exceeding US$10 billion.”
According to local media reports, Japan’s national government was expected to announce early this year the final version of its “basic policy” on the integrated resort (IR) topic, as large-scale, multi-use tourism complexes with casinos are known in Japan. Japan’s casino management commission was formally set up on January 7 and had its first meeting on January 10.
Genting Singapore runs the Resorts World Sentosa gaming complex as part of Singapore’s casino duopoly. The company has shown interest in several of Japan’s prefectures or cities considering hosting a casino resort. To date, according to Monday’s filing, Genting Singapore has participated in the request for concept processes organised respectively by the local governments of Osaka and Yokohama.
The company said in the documentation made available on Monday that it had “entered into non-disclosure agreements with certain prefectures and cities in Japan in which the company is considering submitting a proposed bid.”
Getting Singapore added: “The company is accordingly bound by such non-disclosure agreements as to the level and extent of information which may be shared in this circular.”
While admitting that it might submit more than one bid for an IR in Japan, Genting Singapore said that – if selected – it would only develop and operate one casino resort in that country. The focus, it added, would be “on major prefectures and cities”. “This is to ensure that the company develops and operates a Japan IR in a prefecture or city with a large addressable market,” it explained in Monday’s statement.
Local governments that meet the basic requirement for bidding for a casino resort – namely being either a prefecture-level or so-called ordinance-level city government – need first to find a private-sector partner or consortium of partners, then apply to Japan’s national authorities for permission to develop an IR. A maximum of three resorts will be permitted in a first round of liberalisation.
“The board believes that the Japan IR project presents a unique opportunity for the company to enhance its growth profile,” said Genting Singapore in its latest filing.
It added: “With the company’s established track record, expertise and experience gained from its IR projects (including in particular, from the development and operation of Resorts World Sentosa) and its strong financial position, the board believes that the company is well positioned to develop a truly transformational IR project in Japan.”
Genting Singapore is part of Malaysia’s Genting group. The latter has casino interests in Malaysia, the Philippines, the United States, the Bahamas, the United Kingdom and Egypt.
Genting Singapore said additionally that a potential foray into Japan would offer the group “an opportunity to diversify into a new geographical market”.
“Japan is possibly one of the last major [untapped] regulated gaming markets and offers significant potential within its domestic market. Japan is also riding on a strong wave of international tourism growth,” stated the casino operator.
It added: “The company expects the return of the Japan IR project to be commensurate with market expectations and conditions of similar projects in the leisure, hospitality and gaming industry, having regard to macro- and micro-economic factors.”
The company said also that it might undertake the Japan IR project together with other investors or partners, as part of a consortium. “If and to the extent the company undertakes the Japan IR project as part of a consortium, the company will only contribute its proportion of the total investment amount reflecting the ownership and funding structure of the consortium,” it added.
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