Visa restrictions harming more than Japan’s casinos

The future gaming market in Japan won’t have a considerable impact upon Macau’s gaming revenues since policies created by the Chinese central government have already reduced the local gaming market substantially, the Asia Editor for Gambling Compliance, Martin Williams, stated in an interview on Nevada Public Radio (KNPR)
‘I’m sceptical [Japan gaming development] would be a great issue for Macau (…) The amount of money one or a dozen Japanese integrated resorts can take away from Macau is dwarfed by the amount of money the Macau market loses in terms of Chinese Government policies in terms of restrictive measures for visas,’ Mr. Williams said.
According to the gaming analyst, gross gaming revenues in Macau have fallen from a record high of US$42 billion (MOP336.35 billion) in 2013 to US$28 billion in 2016 not because of “falling demand” but due to the “substantial and dramatic” effect of Chinese President Xi Jinping anti-corruption campaign.
For the gaming expert the control of the Chinese Government has over “visas and permits” for visitation is the most important factor for the gaming market in the MSAR, thus if the “new Japan gaming market started taking bit of Macau’s revenues, the Chinese Government would just have to open up the tap of visitors to the city a little bit.”

Chinese disadvantage
When questioned about which companies were best positioned to first obtain gaming licences, Williams plumped for American gaming operators Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Resorts International, plus local operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment as they were “very aggressive in their courting of the Japanese market,” adding he would be surprised if they were not the recipients of the first “two or three gaming licences expected to be handed out in 2018 or 2019.”
The gaming expert also confirmed industry sources believe “ethnical Chinese gaming companies from Malaysia, Singapore or Macau” could face a disadvantage in entering a future Japanese market due to the animosity and “sensitive relationship” between the countries’ governments and residents, giving an advantage to American or Filipino gaming operators.
However, he believes that the integrated resorts draft bill being prepared by the Japanese Government will probably require any gaming company to operate in the country with local partners, helping “mitigate any problems Chinese companies might have entering the country.”