International edition
September 19, 2020

Japan has long been touted as an attractive gaming market

Galaxy may spend us$ 5 billion in Japan and Taiwan casinos

(Japan / Taiwan).- Galaxy Entertainment Group, the Macau casino operator that made Lui Che-woo Asia’s third-richest man, said it will consider investing more than us$ 5 billion in Japan and Taiwan casinos, if the governments open the markets.

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he Hong Kong-based company may spend more than us$ 2.58 billion in each of the Asian markets, Deputy Chairman Francis Lui, the eldest son of the billionaire, said in an interview in Macau today. “If we’re given the chance to build a casino in Japan or Taiwan, we would at least be spending us$ 2.46 billion to us$ 3.70 billion,” Lui said. “We have the financial capacity to do that.”

Galaxy joins competitors such as Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands in seeking opportunities outside Macau and in Japan. Tokyo’s selection to host the 2020 Olympics boosts confidence the government will legalize casinos in what could be the world’s second-largest gambling market after the Chinese city.

Japan has long been touted as an attractive gaming market with a large and relatively rich population base. The country could generate us$ 10 billion revenue a year should it open up, Union Gaming Group estimated.

Galaxy also plans to invest us$ 1.23 billion to develop leisure and sports facilities on Macau’s neighbouring Hengqin Island. The investment includes the costs of land acquisition and construction on the island that is being developed by local and international companies as an entertainment destination.

Biggest landbank

Chinese tourists have transformed Macau into the world’s largest gambling hub, boosting profits for the company and its rivals. Lui expects casino industry revenue to rise as much as 20 percent next year in the only city in China where casino gambling is legal, he said today.

Casino revenue in the former Portuguese enclave rose 18 percent to us$ 37.2 billion in the first 10 months of this year, close to the us$ 38 billion revenue raked in last year. VIPs, or high rollers, account for about two-thirds of the total turnover that is six times bigger than the Las Vegas Strip.

Galaxy has 2 million square meters of land in Macau, the biggest among the six operators. The landbank would enable it to quadruple its footprint in the Chinese city, according to DS Kim, a Hong Kong-based analyst at BNP Paribas.

The casino operator in July completed the us$ 400 million purchase of the Grand Waldo complex in Macau, which includes a spa and hotel, to increase its presence in Macau’s increasingly popular Cotai Strip, the Asian equivalent of the Las Vegas strip.

Shun Tak Holdings, the property company founded by casino mogul Stanley Ho, earlier this year said it won a bid for a site in Hengqin and plans to build a hotel-to-office complex there. China designated Hengqin as a tourism, business and cultural zone, and a resort is under construction in the area, Shun Tak said then.

Lui Che-woo, who has a net worth of us$ 21.7 billion, is Asia’s third-richest man, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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