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sabato 8 marzo 2014

Japan casino interested in Boyd Gaming

LAS VEGAS - Add Boyd Gaming Corporation to the race to operate a casino in Japan.

CEO Keith Smith used a fourth-quarter conference call Wednesday to express Boyd Gaming’s interest in the potential Japanese casino market. The country is exploring casino legalization as a way to pay for infrastructure associated with being host of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“We’re always looking for ways to grow the business,” Smith said, adding that he and a development executive recently traveled to Tokyo to initially view the market.

“We’re investigating ... to see if it’s a good fit for us,” Smith said. “It’s very early in the process and the opportunity is in the exploratory phase.”

Smith said it was too early “to worry about how to finance” a Japanese casino.

The comments surprised some analysts on the conference call.

Smith said Boyd missed out on other international opportunities in the past, including Macau, because it was a small company.

“We’re much larger today than we were in early the early 2000s,” Smith said.

Japan, which has shied from legalizing gaming in the past, is considered to be an untapped lucrative market by many in the investment community. The potential has attracted interest from MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands Corp., Caesars Entertainment Corporation and the Malaysia-based Genting Group.

Recently, Las Vegas Sands Chairman Sheldon Adelson said he would spend $10 billion “or whatever it takes” to win a Japanese casino license.

Boyd Gaming said Wednesday it reduced its fourth-quarter net loss while growing revenue 9.1 percent.

The Las Vegas-based regional casino operator said its net loss for the quarter that ended Dec. 31 was $47.3 million or 43 cents per share. In the same quarter a year ago, Boyd recorded a net loss of $899.9 million, or $10.24 per share, which included a nearly $1 billion noncash impairment charge on the former Echelon site, which was sold to Genting Group.

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