REPRESENTATIVE DIRECTOR AND PRESIDENT
POWER SCORE: 820
POSITION LAST YEAR: 38
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Heads only Japanese company to operate its own integrated resort
- Deposed Universal’s founder, Kazuo Okada, in 2017
A major player in Japan’s pachinko and pachislot market for the past 50 years, Universal Entertainment Corp has dipped its toe into the world of integrated resorts in recent years – first with the launch of Okada Manila and next, presumably, a tilt at an IR license in its home country of Japan.
While construction proved to be a far more complicated process than anyone would deem necessary, Okada Manila had finally opened the majority of its 1,000 hotel rooms as of early 2020 and was on the verge of turning profitable when COVID-19 hit.
Instead, the expansive IR in Manila’s Entertainment City precinct announced in May that it was laying off around 1,000 staff due to financial pressures brought about by COVID-19 – dulling the excitement that had been brought by a 38.2% increase in GGR in 2019, including a 90.2% rise in VIP rolling chip volume.
On a positive note, Universal’s main pachinko arm posted solid results in the three months to 30 June 2020, pushing group wide profit for the period to US$120 million.
And Jun Fujimoto, having controversially seized control of the company in 2017 when he and allies including Okada family members ousted Kazuo Okada, appears to be successfully fighting off efforts from the founder to return.
He will no doubt be hoping that all such distractions are but a distant memory by the time Japan is finally ready to accept bids to develop its first IRs, with Universal rumored to be one company to have silently expressed an interest.
For the full list of 2020 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.