DIRECTOR AND SENIOR ADVISOR
POWER SCORE: 732
POSITION LAST YEAR: 27
CLAIMS TO FAME
- Largest individual shareholder of Japan’s second largest pachinko operator
EVEN IN DECLINE Japan’s pachinko industry continues to generate huge volumes, yet it has felt the pain of the COVID-19 pandemic as much as anyone.
This was highlighted by the country’s second largest pachinko hall operator, Dynam Japan, which suffered an 81.5% decline in net profit attributable to owners of the company to JPY2.36 billion (US$21.6 million) for the year ended 31 March 2021 – impacted by temporary closures and reduced patronage as a result of the pandemic.
Dynam operates 442 pachinko halls in 46 prefectures in Japan – down from 448 halls a year earlier – via a mix of what it calls high playing-cost halls and low playing-cost halls. The group has been developing a new strategy in recent times to counter changes to Japan’s pachinko payout rules, implementing standardized hall types and opening or acquiring halls in less populated regional areas. But the reduction in halls is clearly becoming a trend at least partly outside of Dynam’s control.
That will be of considerable concern to Yoji Sato, the man widely said to be Dynam’s key decision maker and holding a personal 34% stake in the company his father founded in 1967.
According to a Forbes 2020 Rich List, Sato’s personal fortune exceeds US$800 million – suggesting his influence in Japan’s unique gaming scene remains as strong as ever.
For the full list of 2021 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.