s preparations for Japanese Integrated Resort market continue at both a political and commercial level, Clarion Gaming conducted some research to find out what were the main challenges which still exist for operators trying to build a vision, financial projection and bid for one of the three licences in the country. The top 5 considerations for operators were as follows:
Given the government clarification around the IR site regulation, MICE space will have to take up 100,000 sq feet, making it integral to operators and Japan as country to understand how to maximise and commercial event space business. MICE space success will involve a plethora of partners from infrastructure, to technology to even government support for trade, investment and tourism.
On average there will need to be around 2,500 rooms, this figure does not fluctuate depending on location of site, meaning that each licensee will have to comply with this enormous building project. Designers, architects and project managers will be deployed to start planning for this, a very expensive business, given that the licences are by no means a done deal.
There are still a number of political barriers making investment and borrowing difficult under the current licensing law. In particular the length of the initial license coupled with rigid 5-year renewal process, operators have highlighted alarm bells with raising finance, and even the possibility of underwriting loans.
A negative public perception of gaming and the IR projects continues to raise questions and concerns about the future of the IR market. The government have recently employed media company Dentsu to try to improve the consumer facing marketing campaigns and education around what an IR is, and how 97% is in fact non-gaming amenities. Translating the positive social impact of gaming continues to help both government and consumer.
Strict casino rules have been put in place recently around gambling advertising even though the application is yet to begin. All ads relating to casino activities will be allowable only at the international terminals at Japanese airports and seaports. This will be part of their wide-ranging framework that will be in draft mode by March.
This means that the general public will not be exposed to any casino advertising unless they are at one of these transportation hubs. This will challenge eventual licensee to promote the gaming floor without the use of consumer advertising.
For more information about the above, please join myself and other key stakeholders within the IR market at JgC 2019, 16-17 May at the Conrad Tokyo, Japan.