Kazuo Okada

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Kazuo Okada
Born1942 (age 76–77)
ResidenceHong Kong
NationalityJapanese
OccupationBusinessman
Net worthUS$1.82 billion (September 2017)[1]
Children3

Kazuo Okada (岡田 和生, Okada Kazuo, born c. 1943) is a Japanese billionaire entrepreneur, and art collector. Okada was formerly an executive at Wynn Resorts,[2][3] and later the chairman of the Universal Entertainment Corporation until his ouster in 2017 after allegations of financial mismanagement.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Kazuo Okada was born in 1942. Having lost his father at a young age, he became independent and supported his family. He studied at an engineering vocational school to take advantage of his interest and passion for mechanics. In an interview with the Financial Times, Okada claimed that "vacuum tubes are so much fun."[6]

Career[edit]

In 1969 Okada founded Universal Lease, which manufactured coin-operated arcade games for children. In late 1969, Okada's first visit to Las Vegas led to his decision to enter the business of slot machine manufacturing. He invented the "near-miss" feature in his slot machines, an innovation that helped expand the Japanese market of "pachislot" (a hybrid of Japan’s pachinko and Las Vegas slot machines) and also made Okada's slot machines popular in Las Vegas. Throughout the 1990s, Universal served as a major supplier of machines to the bustling Japanese pachinko industry. In 2000 Okada was introduced to Las Vegas-based casino magnate Steve Wynn, eventually investing $380 million in Wynn’s then-new company, Wynn Resorts. Wynn Resorts opened its first casino in 2005 in Las Vegas and a second one in 2006 in Macau. In 2008, Steve Wynn declined to join Okada in a major investment to build a casino in Entertainment City in Manila. Okada proceeded alone with the investment, forming a local company, Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment, Inc., to handle the development of the Manila property. In July 2016, the property was unveiled as the Okada Manila, a $2.4 billion integrated hotel, resort and casino that represents Okada’s biggest investment to date.[6]

In 2017 Okada was accused of "misappropriating millions of dollars" from his holding company Okada Holdings.[7] Universal Entertainment Corporation subsequently removed him from his chairman position by convincing his family members to vote him out of his Okada Holdings leadership role.[4]

Art collection[edit]

Okada is a collector of Japanese, Chinese and Korean art. He opened his own art museum in 2013 near the hot-springs resort of Hakone, south-west of Tokyo.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Okada is married, with three children.[5][1] They reside in Hong Kong.[5][1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Kazuo Okada & family". forbes.com. Retrieved 16 September 2017.
  2. ^ Cohen, Muhammad (October 6, 2015). "Japan Billionaire Pachinko King Okada's Manila Casino Nightmare Turning Into Dream Resort". Forbes. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  3. ^ Lopez, Linette; Wile, Rob. "The Story Behind The Nasty Feud Between Steve Wynn And Kazuo Okada". Business Insider. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Cohen, Muhammad (August 10, 2018). "Pachinko King Kazuo Okada Denies Charges in Hong Kong Arrest". South China Morning Post. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Japan's 50 Richest People: #29 Kazuo Okada & family". Forbes. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Inagaki, Kana. "The High Stakes Gamble of Kazuo Okada in the Philippines". FinancialTimes. Retrieved September 9, 2016.
  7. ^ "Japanese gaming tycoon Kazuo Okada sues former company, seeks reinstatement". Kyodo News. September 9, 2018. Retrieved September 9, 2018 – via The Japan Times.