Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Where to begin...

I haven't been updating. Bleah, bad me.

Let's start with a quick link - I found an interesting article on Oliver Tse's blog. Actually, it's so short I'll quote it, but Oliver seems to collect a lot of inside information about the casino and poker businesses, so his blog should reveal a lot of insight to those with an interest, so go check it out.

LAS VEGAS -- Harrah's Entertainment is looking to hire a Mandarin Chinese-speaking MBA with 3 to 4 years of experience negotiating deals with the mainland Chinese government to fill a newly-created Director of Development position in its new Hong Kong office.

Harrah's is also looking for 2 additional MBA's, one Japanese and/or Korean speaking to be based in Japan or South Korea, and one Thai and Mandarin Chinese-speaking to be based in Thailand or Singapore.

These new Directors of Development will be responsible for negotiating casino and hotel resort development deals for Harrah's with governments in Asia.

He also links to the Harrah's web page describing the job positions. You know, this could be a cool job for someone with interest and experience in the gambling industry, an MBA (to begin with), fluent Japanese and/or Korean, and a pioneering attitude. I hope they find the guy and he does a good job, 'cause I'd love to go to a Harrah's casino either here or in Seoul.

I have to figure that Seoul is much more likely to bear fruit for Harrah's in the short term. Gambling is still illegal in Japan and though there have been talks and discussions about legalizing casinos in certain locations here, I've heard nothing definite so far. Seoul, however, has half a dozen legal casinos and the number seems to be growing. Some or all of them are restricted to non-Korean citizens, a la Monaco. But if they make a tidy profit from the foreigner tourists, they must might decide to throw open the doors and let the natives play too and fill the government tax coffers.

I hear they even have poker there. Probably only occasional tournaments, since I doubt they have enough players to keep a dedicated table going.

Seoul is so close to Japan that a weekend jaunt there would be like a Vegas visit from San Francisco. Heady stuff for a guy like me, especially since flights, accommodations, and food can be damn cheap. I've only visited once, but spent about $300 for round trip airfare and 3 nights hotel. My group of Japanese friends and I ate like Korean kings, gorging ourselves with grilled meats, kimchee, flowing rivers of veggies and beer, lots of beer. We would get the bill and work it out, and it always cost us about $15 a person. Or less. God damn. Living in Tokyo, that's jaw-dropping.

I do, however, like the implication that Harrah's is positioning themselves to be ready if Japan does open up and allow some casino gambling here. I love Las Vegas and will continue to visit once or twice a year, I'm sure, but if they open Caesar's Palace Tokyo, suddenly my weekends are booked for the rest of the decade.

Edit: Shit, I had this post in draft mode this whole time? Man I suck.

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