Things continue to heat up for gaming in the Asia Pacific region, but the latest developments in Japan could giving local gaming numerous positive spin-offs.
Asia Pacific's Media Man reports...
Japan's up and down gaming and gambling sector is likely to be an unlikely benefactor from the countries National Child Subsidy Scheme, a program that aims to give couples cash and encourage newlyweds to have families.
Pachinko parlours aka cacophonous pinball arcades that snatch about 23 trillion yen ($278 billion) in apparent illegal gambling revenues per year are likely to fare particularly well Asian gambling insiders tell us.
The Japanese monthly family benefit payment are beautifully matched up for a couple of hours' game play.
The Japanese Government is attempting to get a yes sir for a Y2.2 trillion program giving families Y13,000 a month for each child. The payments would then rise to Y23,000 a month in the second year.
It hopes to combat the effects of a birth rate that has been in decline for 20 years and to ease demographic concerns ranging from a lack of elderly care provision to long-term fiscal catastrophe.
But in a note to investors, analysts at Daiwa Securities have pointed out the reality of what happens when governments suddenly make hefty cash payments.
As the benefit is not distributed in the form of vouchers, Daiwa says, it represents a "hidden" bonus for the gambling industry. Government bonuses to Australian households last year saw an increase in money going into the slots of land based clubs, hotels and casinos, in addition to further lifting the internet casino sector.
Investors have taken note. Beneficiaries would be likely to include the makers of children's clothes and baby goods.
Theme parks and game makers such as Nintendo and other toy and videogame makers also appear winners of stocks that could gain as parents get cash to give into pester power.
Because of the legal "grey" (recently used by Virgin Games) zone in which they operate, pachinko parlour operators are not currently listed on the stock exchange.
The machine makers are tipped to perform strongly. Heiwa, Sankyo, SegaSammy and Aruze all appear on Daiwa's list of "stocks to watch".
Flow on from stimulus cash to pachinko has history. Last April, the Government's stimulus programme involved Y2000 cash handouts to families and was intended to trigger spending across the retail and services sector.
Pachinko stocks were the best-performing equities in the market over the following six months. In 2007, pachinko revenues are believed to have exceeded those of the Japanese restaurant sector.
Numerous analysts have questioned the wisdom of the child subsidy scheme. The Kansai Institute of Social and Economic research found that slightly more than half of Japanese were positive about the idea and more than a third intended to use any cash that they receive into savings or paying-off loans.
The Japanese gaming and gambling market looks like it onto a winner, and perhaps Japan may soon be in a better position to give Macau and Philippines casino and games sector a run for their money.
Media Man and Gambling911 expect that a percentage of the Japanese handouts will eventually end up going to the online casino and gambling sector, so countries such as Gibraltar and The Isle Of Man may also benefit, as the gaming sector is certainly part of the globally economy, and internet medium is suited well to punters who seek the world for their gaming entertainment of choice. Sayonara baby baby, and good fortune.
*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911
*Media Man is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company