Posted on: March 20, 2023, 06:00h.
Last updated on: March 20, 2023, 06:00h.
UBS is acquiring rival Swiss bank Credit Suisse for $3.25 billion in a transaction that some experts say is really a bailout, but it may not harm Nagasaki’s efforts to procure financing for casino-resort plans.
Last year, Nagasaki Governor Kengo Oishi mentioned Credit Suisse as among the potential financiers of the prefecture’s integrated resort project. Currently, Nagasaki and Osaka are the only Japanese prefectures with casino proposals before the federal government. MGM Resorts International is the operator partner for the Osaka venture while Casinos Austria is the gaming company working with Nagasaki.
Oishi told members of the media last Friday that “the prefecture has gathered information” on the demise of Credit Suisse and integrated resort “funding plan should not be affected by the issue.”
Credit Suisse — a 166-year old financial institution listed as one of the 30 systemically important global financial institutions — is the latest casualty in a crisis that’s seen several US banks collapse and others forced to the brink.
Nagasaki Has Financing Options
Even with Credit Suisse out of the mix to provide capital for a Nagasaki gaming venue, the territory has options.
Last September, Oishi mentioned Cantor Fitzgerald and CBRE could also be contenders to provide financing for the integrated resort effort. It’s also possible that other lenders sense opportunity to get in on the ground floor of Japan’s casino gaming industry. For now, UBS has not said whether or not it will evaluate Credit Suisse’s role in Nagasaki.
It’s estimated that a Nagasaki integrated resort could cost $3 billion to $4 billion, but a sizable stake in the project could entice lenders. On the other hand, Japan developed a dubious reputation in terms of getting its casino industry off the ground, chasing a slew of large contenders off in the process.
Japan already has a reputation for bureaucratic delays and snafus regarding its integrated resort process. For now Nagasaki and Osaka are the cities most likely to be homes to Japan’s first gaming venues. But debuts of those properties are still years away.
Signs of Optimism for Japan Casinos
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is supportive of casino gaming as an avenue for boosting tourism to the world’s largest third-largest economy.
That’s a start, but it doesn’t mean the licensing process will be expedited nor does it imply the government is considering awarding more than three gaming permits to start. Owing to Japanese authorities moving slowly on the casino front, some analyst believe the earliest gaming venues will open in the country will be sometime between 2028 and 2030.
It’s possible that if those properties debut sooner than expected and outperform revenue expectations, other gaming companies will revisit the idea of Japan venues, but for now, that’s a far-off prospect.