28 Kohei Sato
CHAIRMAN AND CEO
POWER SCORE: 980
POSITION LAST YEAR: —
CLAIMS TO FAME
Oversees Japan’s second largest pachinko operator
Japan’s pachinko and pachislot industry is in decline, hit hard by the whims of the younger generation and new regulations limiting payouts and mandating lower machine volatility. The result has been a significant rationalizing of the industry, but among the survivors is Dynam – the country’s clear second largest operator working hard to change its pachinko mix via the conversion of high cost playing halls to low cost playing halls.
In its 2Q18 results announcement, which saw revenue continue its gradual slide, Dynam said it aims to make pachinko “an accessible amusement everybody can enjoy and is working to expand the market shares in the industry by opening low cost playing halls.”
The company still operates 450 pachinko halls nationwide, giving it a decent chunk of the nation’s US$200 billion industry, however the future remains a challenge.
Union Gaming’s Grant Govertsen observed in July, “Dynam cut its machine purchases in half during [the three months to 30 June 2018] and we expect this to continue throughout the year. The reason is simple: the company wants to keep as many higher volatility machines in operation as possible and is thus deferring purchases of new lower volatility machines until such time as the mandated three-year life cycle of its higher volatility legacy machines runs out.
“In the new environment we expect the players to actively demand pachinko operators to keep the older higher volatility machines as long as possible. We therefore expect notably lower machine purchases for the next year before having to begin replacing machines in earnest during FY20.”
For the full list of 2018 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.