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Japan could be target for crime – former Wynn security chief

Wed, Jul 10, 2:16pm by Staff Writer

The former head of security at Wynn Resorts says casinos in Japan will become targets for organised crime syndicates. reports that James Stern was fired by Wynn Resorts in April after testifying before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission that he used company money to secretly surveil Elaine Wynn, the casino operator’s largest single shareholder.

Ms Wynn’s former husband, Steve Wynn, had accused her of running a smear campaign to bring alleged sexual misconduct allegations to light.

Stern has since formed his own security consult firm called Global Gaming & Resort Security.

Speaking with The Japan Times, Stern said that three forthcoming integrated casino resorts will be targets for Japanese gangs.

Japan is legalizing three casino developments and the world’s largest gaming companies are organising their bids.

Gambling and illicit activities have long gone hand in hand.

With millions of dollars in play on a daily basis at mega casino properties, security is of utmost concern.

Casinos are often targeted as money laundering facilities and Stern is worried that local police in Japan aren’t properly trained to prevent three complexes from being used by organised crime syndicates.

“Japan is a notion of laws and I’m sure that the police will be prepared. But the casinos can’t trust the police to do everything. That won’t work well,” Stern said.

“Imagine if a gangster was able to get control over a VIP host. They could do a significant amount of damage,” Stern, a former FBI agent, added.

“There are many ways to skim money from a casino and criminals will easily figure out how to do it.”

The legalisation of commercial gambling remains unpopular among Japan’s general public.

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his controlling Liberal Democratic party are pressing on in an effort to make the country a more tourism-oriented destination.

Osaka will be the home of Japan’s first IR

The Japanese city of Osaka is in the box seat to be the first to develop an integrated resort in the country, according to Forbes.

None of Japan’s other larger metropolitan areas have entered the competition for an integrated resort licence, so Osaka stands alone.

Under the licencing process, local jurisdictions will nominate a single consortium for the national government to consider for a licence.

It is now imperative for casino operators and their partners to be able to convince local authorities that they are their best choices.

As Osaka launches its selection process, expect extraordinary competition among at least a half-dozen of the biggest names in gaming, and in this beauty contest, second place won’t even get a bouquet.

“For a successful development, you need a number of things to align: a sufficient population base, including tourists, to feed customers, infrastructure and political support,” MGM Japan CEO Ed Bowers says.

“Osaka has consistently said it wanted integrated resorts. In all jurisdictions across the world, if you don’t get political support, it is extremely difficult for IR development to be successful,” he said.

In January, MGM declared as “Osaka First” strategy and in March, confirmed a partnership with Japanese financial services giant Orix.

The Tokyo-Yokohama metropolitan dwarfs other metropolitan areas with 37 million people, nearly 30 per cent of Japan’s 126 million residents.

But Tokyo remains preoccupied with next year’s Olympics and Yokohama has a festering rift between port operators opposing an integrated resort on Yamashita Pier, with some business leaders supporting an integrated resort.

Kansai region, including Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto and Wakayama has 19 million people, 15 per cent of Japan’s population.

The next largest metropolitan areas, centering on auto manufacturing hub Nagoya, with just over 9 million people is not expected to seek an integrated resort.

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