Union Gaming Group, successful at home, looks to Japan as global gambling's possible next frontier

3 September 2013

When Bill Lerner and Rich Moriarty penciled out their ideas for Union Gaming Group over dinner at the Sparks Steak House in New York City in 2008, the original concept was to create a boutique investment bank and securities firm focused on the global casino industry.

Five years later, the Las Vegas-based business has far exceeded their initial plan.

Later this month, Union Gaming Group will host a three-day conference at the Conrad Hotel in Tokyo that focuses on Japan’s potential expansion into legalized casino gaming.

Japan is considered uncharted territory for gaming, with many in the industry believing returns on investment could rival Macau, the world’s largest gaming market.

The potential passage of casino legislation by the Japanese government has the best chance out of previous tries, Union Gaming Group believes.

The company’s event will place Japanese government officials, representatives of the leading gaming companies and the investment community into one room.

“We’re creating a platform that is bringing together all parties for communication and education,” said Lerner, who spent 16 years on Wall Street as an equity research analyst. “There is a huge education gap and we believe this conference will help an industry improve from a structural perspective.”

Scheduled speakers include George Tanasijevich, CEO of Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands; MGM Resorts International President Bill Hornbuckle; Wynn Resorts Development President Gamel Aziz; and several Japanese government advisers.

“From a regulatory and geographical perspective, we’re putting all the pieces together in one place,” Lerner said.

That same out-of-the-box thinking created Union Gaming.

Lerner, who was working for Deutsche Bank, came to Las Vegas in 2006 as the first Wall Street gaming analyst to set up shop just a few miles from the Strip. His belief was he could provide more important and timely information to investors by being on the ground at the heart of the gaming industry.

Three years later, Lerner, Moriarty and fellow gaming analyst Grant Govertsen broke off from Deutsche Bank to launch Union Gaming.

A year later, Govertsen moved to Macau and became the first Wall Street analyst on the ground in the Chinese gaming market, which produced $38 billion in revenues in 2012. It was a similar move to Lerner’s a few years earlier, leaving Wall Street for the desert.

“Grant’s competition is in Hong Kong or New York,” Lerner said.

Today, Union Gaming employs 20 people between Las Vegas and Macau. The business has also branched into three divisions.

Equity research analyzes almost two dozen publicly traded gaming companies. Union Gaming Advisors specializes in equity and debt offerings, mergers and acquisitions, private placements and equity trading. Union Gaming Analytics conducts economic impact, feasibility and market analyses for companies and governments.

Lerner said Union Gaming’s growth “happened more quickly and to a much greater magnitude” than the partners anticipated.

Moriarty, who specialized in institutional equity sales on Wall Street, said the idea mapped out in the restaurant was to create something different, a global gaming investment bank focused on one industry.

“We wanted to be true to the sector, because we love the business,” Moriarty said.

Related Links
Union Gaming Group Gaming Vendor Information
Japanese Gambling


Copyright GamingWire. All rights reserved.
Featured Vendors
Betson Imperial Parts & Service
Casino Schedule Ease
Betson Imperial Parts & Service
Your one stop shop for all your gaming and OEM needs!
Casino Schedule Ease
Get a 90-Day Free Trial of 100% contactless, customizable table game & full casino scheduling
TDN Money Systems
TribalHub
TDN Money Systems
Cage, cash/chip handling experts representing CountR, ARCA, AccuCASH, Fujitsu & NCR
TribalHub
23rd Annual TribalNet Conference Sept 12-15, 2022 Grand Sierra Resort & Casino in Reno, NV
Plastic Card ID
Global Gaming Expo (G2E)
Plastic Card ID
The World’s Lowest Prices on Printed Plastic Cards and Card Printers!
Global Gaming Expo (G2E)
The largest gathering of global, commercial and tribal gaming professionals in North America.
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Conference
AmericanChecked
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Conference
The biggest little show in Indian gaming! Save the date: Aug 9-11, 2022 in Tulsa!
AmericanChecked
Background checks for the gaming industry with key & non-key packages & fingerprinting solutions
Kallop
Sunkist Graphics, Inc.
Kallop
Reward every play like a VIP with exclusive luxury brands at affordable prices.
Sunkist Graphics, Inc.
Specializing in the creation of best-of-breed gaming graphics - slot glass, sign faces, and more
Rymax Marketing Services, Inc.
TOP ONE TECH LIMITED
Rymax Marketing Services, Inc.
Leader in creating award winning player & employee loyalty programs & events proven to increase ROI
TOP ONE TECH LIMITED
GLOBAL TOUCH SOLUTION PARTNER OF CHOICE,10+ years OEM manufacturing,100+ thousand units application
.Dot-iGaming.com
Imagine This
.Dot-iGaming.com
Fully loaded advanced casino platform. One time (low) fee, 100% your property, start now!
Imagine This
Imagine This #1 Source for Player Gifts. Over $50 million in stock ready to ship! Let us serve you!
Broadband Hospitality
Slot Machines Unlimited
Broadband Hospitality
Improve these critical guest-facing amenities: In-room TV, Wi-Fi, Mobile App. Priced right. All here
Slot Machines Unlimited
Exporter of IGT, Williams, AVP, Trimline, Aristocrat, Konami, Bally, & parts over 20 yrs experience
Casino City Press
Casino Network
Casino City Press
A leading publisher and distributor of casino and gaming business data and market research reports.
Casino Network
20+ years experience selling refurbished slot machines, parts & glass for all major brands
Talisman Group Creators of EZ Baccarat
Talisman Group Creators of EZ Baccarat
With over 800 tables in 150+ casinos, EZ Baccarat is the number one brand in baccarat.


Your Guide to 15,522 Gaming Industry Suppliers