The flicking of cards and learning the basics of live casino etiquette will no longer be an option at the Japan Casino Academy, a professional school for croupiers which opened its doors in Japan in 2018 in anticipation of the arrival of Las Vegas-style casino resorts in the country.
Student Enthusiasm Dries up Resulting in Bankruptcy
Graduates from the school could today shuffle, size, and cut card decks for a number of games, including poker, blackjack, and baccarat, and preside over the action at roulette and craps tables. The Japan Casino Academy, though, will be no more as the quality of the program went downhill and its graduates were frustrated with the lack of employment opportunities at home.
The school has filed for bankruptcy, Inside Asian Gaming said last week. Japan Casino Academy was immediately established in the wake of a government decision to legalize gambling in the country and introduce three integrated resort projects, which faced challenges, mixing local opposition with financial uncertainty and a global pandemic that paralyzed most big development projects and disrupted supply lines.
But worse, the students who ended up spending thousands on education have had to swallow the bitter reality that there aren’t many opportunities for live casino dealers in Japan just yet. Japan Casino Academy is estimated to have generated around $900,000 in sales before a sharp decline in attendance was noted and the student pool began drying up.
Faced with the harsh reality that an Integrated Resort may not be arriving as soon as expected, students’ enthusiasm dissipated. Meanwhile, many international companies are still deciding whether they wish to enter the Japanese Integrated Resort space. There will be only three such licenses issued, with the first one coming by sometime this or next year.
Las Vegas Sands, Hard Rock International, MGM Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment have all sought to enter the space, but some have shown hesitance as the outlook grew more precarious. Las Vegas Sands dropped its bid, for example, and decided to refocus on Texas in the United States.
Winning the IR Bid Not as Appealing as Once Was
Meanwhile, there are only two prefectures that are still vying for the rights to host the first Integrated Resorts, and it’s hardly smooth sailing there either. Osaka and Nagasaki both have submitted bids to the national government while matters in the prefectures worsen due to local opposition that is going mostly unheard by politicians too fidgety to broach a discussion lest the other prefecture win.
MGM Resorts and Osaka are pushing ahead with a $9 billion project, under the projected initial target of $12 billion, in the hopes of winning. Meanwhile, Nagasaki and Casinos Austria are going to try for a $3.2 billion project. But these projects are still only hypothetical, where for the students of Japan Casino Academy, real venues of opportunities where they can ploy their skills acquired at a steep cost are badly needed right now.