Scientific Game

Japan must cluster casinos to succeed: Paul Steelman

Thursday, 18 January 2018 05:59
Visit us

Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas attracts 18 million visitors each year

Globally renowned casino architect Paul Steelman says that Japan must create a casino cluster rather than award single casino licenses to individual cities if it hopes to achieve its goal of boosting inbound tourism.

Speaking exclusively to Inside Asian Gaming, Steelman revealed that his company, Steelman Partners, has already developed a range of preliminary design ideas for potential Japanese integrated resorts ahead of the expected passing of the country’s IR Implementation Bill in mid-2018.

But he warned against developing single casinos in multiple cities, pointing instead to the success of casino towns such as Las Vegas and Macau as the examples Japan must follow.

“Las Vegas has proved and will continue to prove that a planned group of casinos with a large convention center, stadiums and other attractions will continue to attract large numbers of tourists,” he said.

“The spectacle of the group, the endless entertainment possibilities, something new during each and every visit keeps casinos focused on creating events that will fill the hotels. A single casino has less initial investment and once operating less desire to ‘risk’ to create attractions.

“There is no single casino in the world that attracts the same quantity of tourists as Fremont Street (in Downtown Las Vegas) does. The collective sum of the parts far outweighs any one casino.”

The concept of a casino cluster in Japan was first raised publicly last year with consultancy firm Global Market Advisors calling for an Osaka Strip of IRs to be developed on Osaka’s Yumeshima Island.

In its White Paper: Japan Integrated Resorts released last May, GMA said that, “Developing the Osaka site, with multiple operators on the ‘Osaka Strip’, would create critical mass and a true tourist destination. This would compete with Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore in generating nearly US$11 billion from that district alone.”

While Steelman isn’t necessarily calling for the Osaka Strip itself, he does want multiple IRs in a single location which he envisions being “connected by long boulevards filled with entertainment and those long boulevards being populated by fantastically designed Japanese buildings that are just to die for.”

“I mean, just scattering casinos around the country – yes they’ll be successful but will they create a major increase in tourism? I don’t think so,” Steelman told IAG.

“What makes Las Vegas great is the sum of its parts – the sum of its parts being organized by the Las Vegas Convention Center. Everyone talks to one another and everyone works together more or less in a hand in hand situation. Downtown Las Vegas (pictured) as a group attracts 18 million customers a year. Think about that – 18 million people is more than Disneyworld. 

“If Japan was going to do one thing it would be to promote that effort [of collaboration], wherever these things are going to be.

“We always look for four or five things to do with a casino so going to the beach, going to the golf course or whatever it might be. Japan has a lot of these activities.

“Everyone is going into Japan with this notion of having exclusivity, that’s what everyone wants, but success come when the licensees really talk to one another like in Las Vegas. Then the sum of the parts become greater than the whole.”






What's new

Japan’s IR Bill likely to become law today after passing Cabinet Committee

Japan’s IR Bill likely to become law today after passing Cabinet Committee Japan’s IR Implementation Bill is expected to finally become law today after passing one last hurdle on Thursday. The IR bill, which allows for the development of Japan’s first integrated resorts in three yet to be specified locations, passed through the Cabinet Committee of the House of Council... Thursday, 19 July 2018 23:58

VIDEO: Week in Review

VIDEO: Week in Review Inside Asian Gaming takes a look back at the biggest stories of the past week. Thursday, 19 July 2018 22:50

Silver Heritage enjoys record quarter as Vietnam, Nepal casinos grow

Silver Heritage enjoys record quarter as Vietnam, Nepal casinos grow Australian-listed Silver Heritage Group has recorded its strongest quarterly gross gaming revenue since listing in 2016, with GGR up 39% to US$11.39 million for the three months to 30 June 2018. The positive results included strong growth at all three of the group’s casinos, with Phoenix Internat... Thursday, 19 July 2018 21:26

Australia’s Tabcorp pays AU$71 million to exit failed UK sportsbook Sun Bets

Australia’s Tabcorp pays AU$71 million to exit failed UK sportsbook Sun Bets Australian wagering giant Tabcorp Holdings Limited has executed an agreement to exit its UK sportsbook Sun Bets following discussions with partner News UK. Sun Bets will cease trading in the coming days with Tabcorp will make a payment to News UK of around AU$71 million to exit the agreement, origi... Thursday, 19 July 2018 21:24

Current Issue

Moving ahead

Moving ahead A year after the deadly attack at Resorts World Manila, management continues to reinvent the property to recover and meet the challenge from Entertainment City rivals. By Muhammad Cohen | Editor-at-Large   The tragic events of 2 June 2017 at Resorts World Manila sent shock waves across the Phili... Friday, 29 June 2018 01:32

"This is not a drill..." Gaming businesses must plan judiciously for emergencies such as the Resorts World Manila attack, natural disasters and accidents so they can respond effectively when best plans fail. By Muhammad Cohen   Arson at Resorts World Manila a year ago, Typhoon Hato battering Macau last August and the La... Friday, 29 June 2018 01:24

Five signs that your organizational culture is toxic to customer experience

Five signs that your organizational culture is toxic to customer experience IAG explains the importance of company culture in achieving exceptional customer experience and the five signs that your culture might be toxic to your customer goals. By Sudhir H. Kalé, Ph.D.   Numerous studies on customer experience (CX) highlight the crucial role company culture plays in del... Friday, 29 June 2018 01:18

Height of Luxury

Height of Luxury With the opening of its new luxury hotel at City of Dreams in June, Melco Resorts is looking to take control of Macau’s lucrative premium mass segment. By Ben Blaschke   “We’re not just opening a new hotel today, we’re opening a whole new chapter. We’ve built a landmark for Macau and a... Friday, 29 June 2018 01:08