Prominent Asian junket operator Suncity Group has reportedly established a consortium in order to investigate the possibility of bidding for one of the three integrated casino resort licenses that could soon be made available for Japan.
According to a report from Asia Gaming Brief, the revelation came during an interview with Andrew Ho, the Executive Director for Suncity Group, as part of this week’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia extravaganza that is wrapping up at The Venetian Macao.
“We are just beginning,” Ho reportedly told Asia Gaming Brief. “We are willing to spend some expenses, form a consortium and hire a few guys to try to understand more because the rules and policies aren’t that ready yet.”
Without specifically identifying the other members of the consortium, Ho reportedly declared that they were all Japanese and that the size of their ultimate investment would depend on the location of the potential venue along with the final shape of the legalizing legislation.
“A committee asked me what am I going to invest [and] I said if you give me a big plot of land in front of the [Tokyo Imperial Palace] I’m going to invest $50 billion [but] if they give me a remote island I may consider $500 million,” Ho reportedly told Asia Gaming Brief.
Although most casino gambling is currently illegal in Japan, the coalition government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed the Integrated Resort Promotion Act in December of 2016 and is now hoping to get the successor Integrated Resort Implementation Bill through the 465-seat House of Representatives in advance of a June 20 deadline. Asia Gaming Brief reported that Macau-based Suncity Group is concerned about a few of the stipulations included within the proposed legislation such as one specifying that a development’s gaming floor cannot occupy more than 3% of its total floor space.
Ho reportedly explained that Suncity Group is moreover troubled by some of the licensing specifics, the length of the renewal periods and the 30% tax on gaming revenues, which could ultimately see it snub Japan in favor of smaller projects elsewhere in Asia.
Asia Gaming Brief also reported that July saw Suncity Group through its Goal Summit Limited subsidiary spend around $76.8 million in order to purchase a 34% stake in Hoi An South Development Limited Project Company, which is building an $89 million integrated casino resort in northern Vietnam. Ho purportedly stated that the venue is now scheduled to open next year near the city of Hoi An with about 70 mass-market gaming tables alongside an identical number reserved for VIP players.
Ho reportedly proclaimed that he is confident Vietnam’s government will ultimately allow locals to gamble at the coming facility before detailing that its table roll is expected to top $100 million per unit, which would be around half what it is currently pulling in via a room it runs inside the Crown International Club in Danang.
Finally, Asia Gaming Brief reported that Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group is hoping to continue diversifying across Asia and is furthermore looking at other potential opportunities in the Philippines, South Korea and Myanmar. Ho purportedly divulged that this will make it easier ‘to do marketing’ and keep full control over the properties visited by its VIP players.
“In Macau we are the number one but there are lots of things I cannot get,” Ho reportedly told Asia Gaming Brief. “I have no say on the design, the restaurant or even the menu and sometimes I can’t even get a booking.”