CHAIRMAN AND GROUP CEO
Sega Sammy Holdings
POWER SCORE: 651
POSITION LAST YEAR: 49
CLAIMS TO FAME
• One of Japan’s biggest pachinko operators
• Partner in Korea’s first integrated resort, Paradise City
IT was 1975 when Hajime Satomi founded Sammy Corporation and began his first venture selling pachislot machines – 44 years later he remains as ambitious as ever, positioning the company he now presides over to become one of Japan’s first IR operators.
Sega Sammy Holdings was formed in 2004 after Sammy Corp purchased a controlling share in video game giant Sega. The resulting conglomerate’s business focus has since centered around four key segments – pachinko and pachislot sales, amusement center operations, arcade machines and video games.
But with dark clouds hovering over Japan’s pachinko and pachislot industry, Satomi has steered the company in a new direction. In 2013, Sega Sammy teamed up with Korean foreigner-only casino operator Paradise Group to build Korea’s first integrated resort, Paradise City. The US$1.3 billion project opened for business in April 2017 with Sega Sammy holding a 45% stake, and although ramp of the property has taken considerably longer than was hoped, recent results have been more encouraging.
But Paradise City is only a warm-up vehicle for the company’s real goal – operating a casino at home in Japan. Sega Sammy faces strong competition in its pursuit of one of the three IR licenses expected to be issued next year, but home ground advantage remains its potential trump card.
“We adopt a unique position among Japanese companies,” Satomi told investors in April. “We are proud to be the only Japanese company currently aiming to draw up a grand design for a full-fledged resort, and entering the integrated resort business in a way that also involves casino operation. We believe this to be our biggest advantage.”
For the full list of 2019 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.