Friday, July 20, 2018

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Japan casino legislation finally approved by Diet’s upper house

japan-casino-legislation-approvedJapan’s casino bill has cleared the legislature’s upper house despite a flurry of last-minute procedural tactics by opponents of gambling expansion.

On Friday, the final day of the Diet’s current legislative session, the House of Councillors formally approved the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill. The bill’s passage marked the climax of a multi-year process that faced innumerable obstacles, including a majority of the Japanese public that remains deeply skeptical on the merits of gambling expansion.

The bill calls for a maximum of three large-scale gaming venues to be constructed in cities that have yet to be determined. After the first IR location has been established, a seven-year clock will start, after which the government will review whether to permit the construction of additional IRs.

The first licenses aren’t expected to be issued until 2020, while the expected scale of these projects mean the first casino isn’t likely to open for another five years after that.

In late 2016, Japan passed legislation amending the country’s constitution to permit casino gambling. But political upheaval and public skittishness poured molasses on the IR Implementation Bill’s path to passage.

In May, the Diet approved a companion bill containing provisions to mitigate the potential harms of casino gambling. The government’s recognition of the public’s ongoing uncertainty regarding casinos is reflected in the strict conditions imposed on both the public and the companies that are fortunate enough to win the highly coveted IR licenses.

Japanese gamblers face casino entry fees (not applicable to foreign gamblers) and limits on the frequency of their casino visits (monitored through the use of national identity cards).

Casino operators will be required to cap their gaming floor space at no higher than 3% of a resort’s total footprint and will pay a hefty 30% tax on gaming revenue. International operators may also potentially be limited to minority partner status in joint ventures with local companies.

Still, better half a fish than no fish at all. The IR Bill’s passage will only intensify the lobbying knife-fight that is already being waged behind the scenes by international operators eager to plant their flag in a casino market that could ultimately rival Macau in terms of gaming revenue.

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World Casino News
Golden Entertainment Incorporated to buy pair of southern Nevada casinos

American casino operator, Golden Entertainment Incorporated, has announced the signing of a definitive agreement that is to see it purchase the Colorado Belle Hotel and Casino Resort along with the Edgewater Hotel and Casino Resort from smaller counterpart, Marnell Gaming. Golden Entertainment Incorporated used an official Monday press release to reveal that the final purchase price […]
Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Hard Rock set to join Dublin’s landscape

Hard Rock International (HRI) keeps changing its tune. It opened a new hotel and casino in Atlantic City less than three weeks ago, and is now crossing the pond with its eyes on Ireland. The company said in a press release this past Tuesday that it is looking to build a new venue in Dublin with the help of a local hotel operator.

Hard Rock set to join Dublin's landscapeThe boutique hotel is expected to have 120 rooms and would be built in the heart of the city. It will offer 24-hour room service, live music, an all-day restaurant and a cocktail bar. The Hard Rock Hotel Dublin is to be a four-star operation born of a partnership with hotel operator Tifco Limited, and HRI indicated that it expects to have the hotel completed by the end of 2020.

HRI’s senior VP and Head of Global Hotel Development, Todd Hricko, said, “Ireland has always been a place close to our hearts, and it only seems right to open a Hard Rock Hotel in Dublin, given the city’s musical roots. This is an exciting opportunity to extend our presence in Europe and elevate the one-of-a-kind offering at Hard Rock Hotels to the next level.”

According to the press release, the project will be built across two structures. The first is an existing property that was built at the beginning of the 20th century. It was initially known as the Exchange Buildings and is currently the Parliament Hotel. This will retain its original red brick façade, which will be completely restored, but the interior will go under a complete makeover. It will offer a “unique music-inspired city escape with priceless memorabilia adorning the interior of the property.”

The second location is the Fashion House Building, located adjacent to the Parliament. The Fashion House is going to be rebuilt from the ground up. The new structure will offer a contemporary atmosphere, with a glass link bridge connecting it to the Parliament building.

Enda O’Meara, Tifco Ltd. CEO, is looking forward to the project. He said, “Dublin’s vibrant cultural scene makes it one of the hottest European cities to visit, attracting over 5.5 million overseas visitors annually. Hard Rock Hotel is an iconic, global brand that will be bringing something very different in its own distinctive style to this vibrant part of the capital city…The hotel’s custom design based around the existing handsome early 20th century building will be unique, modern and sophisticated, offering upscale 4-star luxury with a standalone F&B proposition that we plan to put on the map. Hard Rock Hotel Dublin will be the place to see and be seen with live music nightly, excellent food and cocktails, and authentic Irish service.”

HRI isn’t done with their expansion plans yet. The company is said to be involved in a project in Sacramento, CA that will see a build a mega-resort there through a partnership with the Enterprise Rancheria Indian tribe. It is also expected to try for a casino license in Japan, if the country approves its integrated resort bill within the next few days.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Silver Heritage encouraged by Tiger Palace casino performance

silver-heritage-tiger-palace-nepal-casinoCasino operator Silver Heritage Group says its Q2 numbers are way up, but its marquee property in Nepal is still not doing the heavy lifting.

On Thursday, the Australian-listed Silver Heritage filed a trading update for the three months ending June 30, during which it says gross gaming revenue improved 62% year-on-year to US$11.4m, a new record high for the company since it listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2016.

It goes without saying that $11.4m is a rounding error on many larger casino operators’ quarterly reports, but like the song says, Silver Heritage has high hopes for the future. Particularly given the recent launch of the company’s flagship property in Nepal, the Tiger Palace Resort.

That said, Tiger Palace contributed only $1.35m in gross gaming revenue to Silver Heritage’s Q2 total, the smallest figure among the company’s three gaming properties. By comparison, the Phoenix International Club in Vietnam contributed $8.52m (+44%) and the Millionaire’s Club and Casino in Kathmandu anted up $1.52m (+38%).

Choosing to focus on the positive, Silver Heritage pointed out that Tiger Palace’s overall revenue was up 73% from its Q1 total, its table drop was up one-third, gaming revenue was up 50% and non-gaming revenue shot up 145% to $548k.

Tiger Palace also saw a significant rise in customer football and table drop in Q2’s final month, during which hotel room occupancy hit a record 79%. The company claims Tiger Palace is “approaching breakeven property level positive cashflow” in its fourth full month since its grand opening in March.

Tiger Palace had a somewhat rough birthing, which may have played into the senior management shakeup Silver Heritage underwent this spring. Chairman David Green left in favor of James Spenceley, while the board also bid goodbye to director Richard Barker. Company co-founder and biz-dev president Tim Shepherd tendered his resignation the previous August.

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Casino – CalvinAyre.com
Macau’s public bus concession expiry reinforces analysts’ view on gaming concessions

It is seen as a trial run for casino license renewals. Bus concessions in Macau are currently going through the renewal process and it has been anything but quick and easy. There have been numerous extensions, delays and a gross lack of transparency. International brokerage Union Gaming (UG) has been watching the process, and anticipates the same to occur once casino licenses come up for renewal, adding that there won’t be any clarity on the matter for at least several more years.

What Macau's public bus concession expiration tells us about gaming expirationAll bus licenses in the city state expired as of July 31. This followed several extensions offered after the original concessions were issued to two operators in 2008. A third operator was added in 2009, and now all three are trying to negotiate with the government for renewals with less than two weeks remaining until the deadline. The bus companies were being forced to rebid on their licenses, instead of simply seeking a renewal.

In a similar fashion, UG anticipates licenses held by casino operators SJM and MGM to be extended through May 2022. No changes in how the concessions are managed are expected until Macau sees an administration turnover in January 2020. Following the turnover, there could be a study by the new administration on the licensing process, which potentially could last several years. This would more than likely result in all six license concessions being granted extensions until some point past 2022.

The potential for the study was exacerbated by lobbying efforts currently being led for the introduction of a seventh, and possibly eighth, license being offered. According to UG, the efforts could result in the process “dragging on until the middle of the next decade,” giving current Macau casino licensees a little breathing room and pushing out the concession risk further. UG puts the odds of the additional concessions being granted at 50/50.

UG also explained that the concession term could be extended in an attempt to maintain current investments in established integrated resorts. It’s also possible that the Macau government could campaign for a “Vegas-like approach” to the industry, which was “a near constant refreshment and reinvention of the non-gaming attractions similar to what has been seen up and down the Las Vegas Strip.” From 2011 to 2017, casino operators invested $6 billion in the Strip without building a single new casino. According to UG analyst Grant Govertsen, “As non-gaming becomes a primary differentiator between properties in Macau, and as the customer base becomes worldlier and sophisticated (something that is already occurring rapidly) we would expect the pace and magnitude of reinvestment in Macau to outstrip that of Las Vegas.”

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