Universal Entertainment Corp, a company controlled by Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada (pictured), saw its net income rise 8.1 percent in the financial year to March 31, it said in filing to Jasdaq on Thursday. Such income increased to approximately JPY10.17 billion (US$81.5 million) from nearly JPY9.41 billion a year earlier.
The group’s core businesses are the development, manufacture and sale of pachislot and pachinko gaming machines mainly for the Japan market. It is also investing in the development and eventual operation of a Philippines casino resort via a consolidated subsidiary called Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment Inc.
Universal Entertainment launched eight new pachislot titles and one pachinko title during the fiscal year. The total number of installed pachislot and pachinko units stood at 210,000, said the filing.
Net sales and operating income from the pachislot and pachinko business during the reporting period were respectively JPY84.73 billion – a year-on-year rise of 1.5 percent – and JPY35.88 billion, up 1.3 percent year-on-year.
Universal Entertainment confirmed that at the date the fiscal year report was compiled, framework construction for the Philippine casino property – Manila Bay Resorts, which has been described as a US$2-billion project – had progressed to the 14th floor.
“Foundation work is also under way on the fountain facilities and the shopping zone,” added the filing. On July 30, Tiger Resort held a topping-off ceremony for its first hotel tower.
Under an agreement with the Philippines’ casino regulator – the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp, also known as Pagcor – Tiger Resort had been due to open facilities by March 31. Francis P. Hernando, vice president for gaming licensing and development at Pagcor, told local media last month that the regulator had agreed a new timetable that would see completion by December 31, 2016.
Universal Entertainment confirmed in its Thursday filing that it is still in litigation with casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd over the forcible redemption by Wynn Resorts – at discount – of a 20 percent stake Mr Okada’s firm held in the U.S.-based casino operator. Universal Entertainment is on public record as saying it had taken legal action in Nevada, although the latest filing didn’t mention the location of the lawsuit.
Wynn Resorts has alleged Mr Okada had breached U.S. anti-bribery laws by providing gifts and things of value to officials at Pagcor at a time he was seeking a casino licence in Manila. Mr Okada and his companies have always denied those allegations.
Universal Entertainment revealed in June that it is being sued in Japan by one of its own shareholders in relation to the forcible redemption of its stake in Wynn Resorts.
The Japanese firm said on Thursday that its civil suit with Wynn Resorts is still at the “discovery and recording of testimony” stage. “Next will be a trial with witness examinations and other activities that will result in a verdict,” said Universal Entertainment.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China