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Japan, Sneaker Con and Mr. Vegas

Punch drunk in love with Japan and the enduring legacy of that perpetual youngster, Wayne Newton

Japan, Sneaker Con and Mr. Vegas

Boy, I can’t wait to go to Floyd Mayweather’s casino in Okinawa. It’s going to be a hoot.

The legendary former boxer and current promoter has reportedly bought a place in Tokyo, from where he plans to bid for a “casino empire” on the island of Okinawa.

The Sun in the U.K. quoted Hong Kong boxing promoter Jay Lau as saying Mayweather “came to Tokyo to set up TMT Japan (“The Money Team,” his promotion company) because of the Japan casinos that open in the next year. There are casinos opening in Cambodia, Singapore and China as well. It means boxing will get more and more popular.”

I’m guessing that by now, someone’s told Mayweather there won’t be a casino opening in Japan for at least five years, and probably longer, and that there are no casinos opening in Cambodia, Singapore or China next year either—and, of course, that the local government in Okinawa has ruled out casinos.

Man, I hope Floyd didn’t sign the papers yet. And for the record, I wouldn’t want to be the one who told him all that stuff about Japan. From what I understand, no one’s told him to this day he lost the Olympic qualifier to Augie Sanchez in 1996.

He never lost another fight. So, here’s wishing you all the best with Casino Okinawa, Floyd.

Speaking of the Land of the Rising Sun, MGM Resorts Japan is already anticipating its future role as operator of one of the new market’s integrated resorts, ramping up some early convention business. In November, the operator served as the main sponsor of Sneaker Con Osaka 2019—one of more than 30 annual events in the Sneaker Con tour, which includes events in cities from New York to London to Shanghai, Sydney and, of course, Toronto.

MGM picked Osaka for the first Sneaker Con in Japan because it “is a city with a vibrant culture of street fashion,” according to MGM Resorts Japan President Jason P. Hyland.

I’ll never forget my first Sneaker Con. It was in Burma. I wore Converse All Stars.

In other gaming news, Hackaday, a sort of blog for software and hardware hacks, published pictures of a “Slot Machine ATM” one of the engineers in their little blogosphere invented. It has three reels, and you put in your PIN and the amount of cash you want. The reels spin to matching symbols, and the amount comes pouring out of a hopper just like coins did in the old-timey slot machines. Your friends laugh with glee at the “guaranteed jackpot.”

So, if I’ve got this right, somewhere, maybe in some casino, there will be an ATM with reels and a handle, and I can get my $400 of gambling money in quarters. Then, I can scoop all the coins into a bucket and lug them to some cashier, providing there are still cashiers that are equipped to pour a bunch of coins into a contraption and come out with a cash-money figure.

Why, it puts the drudgery back into slot play! How smart! They should set up a bus service in New York, give passengers each a roll of quarters, and ride them to Atlantic City to get money from the Slot Machine ATM.

OK, I know. I’m sure the invention is not meant for widespread commercial release. From what I can tell, it’s something some tekkie built in his garage and put up on Hackaday, to amuse fellow tekkies of a similar bent. It does prove one thing, though. There are a lot of people in today’s world with way too much time on their hands.

Finally, I see Wayne Newton just signed to appear at the Grand Falls Casino & Resort this year. He will arrive with his usual entourage of nurses, ambulatory assistants and, of course, his pearl-handled walker.

Oh, I’m kidding. Though he’s 77, Newton’s a perpetual youngster (compared to, say, Keith Richards)—and he’s a bona fide legend of casino entertainment. I read that he’s performed more than 25,000 shows in Las Vegas alone (in one week, mind you), so he deserves his widely repeated “Mr. Las Vegas” moniker. Now, of course, he will also be known as “Mr. Iowa.”

Hey, the guy’s put out 165 albums and counting, he still does a Vegas show and he still performs around the country.

I’m 14 years his junior, and I’m lucky I can get my shoes on in the morning.

I wonder if Wayne will play Floyd Mayweather’s Okinawa casino.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.  

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