With the legalization of casinos in Japan, Asia is set to become one of the hottest areas of gaming competition around the world. That's where we'll start our recap of the weekly casino headlines.
Will Konami Make Japanese Slots?
Konami is a massive Japanese entertainment company that is well known in the videogame industry. A lesser-known fact is that they're also one of the biggest suppliers in the world for slot machines. They would like to get in on the slot machine game in Japan, but Konami says they'll only do so if the regulations are as strict as the laws they have in Las Vegas. Japan just legalized casinos in December 2016 and the heavy hitters have come calling. That includes MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands. Konami would be on board to join as well - in terms of providing the slots - but they need assurances that the Japanese regulations are on par with Las Vegas.
Konami already has a relationship with MGM and they are already licensed in 45 American states. The plan is to target roughly 12% of the market in terms of slot machines for Konami, which is looking to get in on the ground floor as Japan looks to challenge Macau for gambling revenue in Asia.
Macau Revenues Rebound
Speaking of Macau, their casino industry seems to be bouncing back after a tough stretch. In March, Macau reported casino revenue of $2.65 billion, which was up almost 18% from February. The casino industry has been up and down over the last year, going up from July to November, then down over December and January. However, February and March have obviously been very good. This is just in time for the news from Japan that they're going to get into the casino game, so that is expected to provide some stiff competition. Macau would like to see more of a steady growth before they feel good about going into battle with Japan. Still, Macau is looking good after two years of corruption scandals and crackdowns on government officials had slowed their business.
MGM in Massachusetts
MGM continues to grow in the United States and not just in Las Vegas. Specifically, it's the Springfield, Massachusetts casino that took a big step towards completion. This past week, MGM put up the last steel beam on their newly-built casino. This new casino is costing MGM almost a billion dollars to build and it will be Massachusetts' biggest casino yet as the state looks to become the Las Vegas of the East. Wynn is aiming to build a casino near Boston as well that is going to cost double what MGM is spending to build theirs. These two gambling behemoths are going to take over the business in a state where their only casino is Plainridge Park in Plainville. How comfortable do you think they feel about welcoming the competition?
The moves have sparked the state of Connecticut to get in on the action and they're looking at ways of working with their native tribes to operate a casino near Hartford, which would be competition for the new MGM casino in Springfield. Regardless, the MGM casino in Springfield is expected to be similar to their newly-opened resort in National Harbor. The details are scant so far but celebrity chefs are expected to partner for unique restaurants and there's supposed to be some excellent retail stores as well.
There is a lot of competition in the northeast as it is and Massachusetts is flexing its muscles with a pair of casinos that should make the state even more of a destination. The MGM casino is slated to open in Fall 2018 and the Wynn casino sometime in 2019.