Galaxy Entertainment Group and Monaco-based Societe des Bains de Mer (SBM) are strengthening their strategic partnership as a joint-contender for a Japanese casino license, according to Nikkei.
Japan is widely thought to have the potential to become one of the world’s most lucrative gambling jurisdictions, with some analysts estimating the market could be worth USD40 billion.
The Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill was introduced to the Japanese legislature last month, proposing the establishment of three gaming licenses. According to Nikkei, if the bill is approved before the end of the parliamentary session on June 20, the bidding process may begin in mid-2019, with the first resort opening around 2024.
Last year, Galaxy and SBM signed a strategic partnership with the goal of pursuing an integrated resort license in Japan.
The two companies held a press conference in Tokyo last week to present Galaxy’s development team, which includes Ted Chan, the chief operating officer for Japan development at GEG.
According to Nikkei, the chairman and CEO of SBM, Jean-Luc Biamonti, remarked that the Monaco-based company was “happy to strengthen the collaboration” with Galaxy, and that a presence in Japan was the company’s number one priority.
“After Macau, we all knew Japan would be the next holy grail,” Galaxy’s deputy chairman Francis Lui told Nikkei in a recent interview. “With the experience we have [had] in Macau, and in partnership with Monte Carlo, we can be very much part of it.”
Michael Mecca, a senior advisor and former president and chief, told Nikkei “the relationship between two companies is growing in many ways and that we keep exploring new ways to work together.”
He said that the companies’ experience developing “world-class” integrated resorts positioned them well for a joint bid.
Galaxy is the largest casino operator in Macau with a 22.6 percent share of the city’s gross gaming revenue, according to Union Gaming, and is the world’s second-largest gaming company in terms of market capitalization. The company acquired a 5 percent stake in SBM in 2015 for 42.4 million euros (MOP410 million) and has since collaborated on several non-gaming projects.