Inbound Ambassador

Can a Casino be Sustainable?

Not a case of IF but WHEN casinos and major gambling hotels and resorts are coming to Japan. These businesses are huge support for economies in Asia and around the world and these huge economic incentives will be too hard to turn away post-covid. There are countless social equity and corruption problems with gambling in Japan already, but there are examples discussed here of how businesses in the hospitality and gaming industry can follow better, more sustainable practices.

So, instead of disregarding the industry as counter to sustainability, it’s an important time to discuss #bestpractice – ways the hospitality industry can be more sustainable in design and operation to provide more balance between the needs of people and planet with profits.

In this talk with HOGO marketing manager Chris Wieners, many key issues of sustainability in hospitality and gaming are raised.

JJ Walsh 0:03
Hi, everyone, this is seeking sustainability live. I’m JJ Walsh here in Hiroshima, Japan. And today I’m talking with Chris wieners, who’s based in Okayama, Japan, not too far from me. He is a marketing specialist for the hospitality and gaming industry, which normally you wouldn’t think of having many connections to sustainability. But if you look at how many employees are employed, how much benefit to the local economy, these huge businesses can contribute. Of course, they are worth talking about how they can better protect the people profit and planet ballots. So this is an interesting discussion from his experience inside the industry, doing marketing and consumer communication. Talk to you with Chris wieners. Not too far away, Chris. You’re in okay. Yeah. Is that right?

Chris Wieners 1:13
That’s correct. JJ. I am very close. Only about 45 minutes away from you on the train. So relatively close today.

JJ Walsh 1:19
Yeah. And the home of Momotaro

Chris Wieners 1:23
Yes, yes. Actually, when I tell people I’m from Okayama. You know in Tokyo or Osaka that’s the very first thing they always seem to mention. So yeah, Momotaro is the most famous character here.

JJ Walsh 1:35
But actually I just drove back from Osaka, we had to do some administrative stuff in Osaka. And you’re a lot closer to Osaka. So even though you’re in the rural area of Japan, it’s actually a very good location. It’s not far from Kansai

Chris Wieners 1:52
Not at all. I mean, it’s a it’s a it’s a great location. I mean, if we’re taking the bullet train, yeah, we’re about 45 minutes door to door to Shin Osaka and even driving, you know, which we’ve had to do a few times here recently. You know, you’re talking it’s about a two hour about a two hour drive to get to, you know, downtown Osaka. So it’s a it’s interesting. Excuse me, it’s it feels very rural, very countryside. But the reality is, yeah, it’s a really great place to be located. And of course, we’re sort of smack dab between Osaka and Hiroshima. So yeah, okay. It was a really it’s an interesting location to be set up. But you have very relatively close to Osaka.

JJ Walsh 2:31
Yeah. Hi, thanks for joining. I’m JJ Walsh. I’m based in Hiroshima, Japan. I work as a sustainability focused consulting for businesses and the travel industry here. You want to learn more about the work that I do? Check out inbound Ambassador COMM And you can also find me on buy me a slash JJ Walsh to get some bonus information and insights from the series. Could you give a little bit of background about yourself? How did you end up in Japan, you were working in Asia before? Maybe a little bit about your company.

Chris Wieners 3:16
Sure. So a little bit of background on myself. I’m originally from the US. I grew up in Maryland, but I spent most of my adult life in Honolulu, where I was working in the hotel industry. And I was focused on basically marketing and advertising for the Asia Pacific market, primarily Japan, which is the top feeder market into into Hawaii. And looking after marketing for hotels there. Back in 2008, excuse me, 2007, I was able to take an opportunity to relocate from Hawaii, and I moved over to Macau with the company that I was working for. And I started to get into basically casino marketing and advertising in Macau and I was there from 2007 for 10 years actually, I lived in Macau basically work there. And then the personal their business and personal reasons to move to Japan the personal was my wife and I, we decided it was time to to make a change. And we made a move to Oklahoma where she’s originally from. And then from a business perspective, which I’ll talk about a little bit today. I saw a lot of unique opportunities here in West Japan, specifically both in market overseas marketing and promotion, as well as the developing casino gaming industry here, which is which is forthcoming. So yeah, I’ve been here and now since 2017. And I have no plans to ever leave this. The beautiful countryside of Oklahoma. Yeah.

JJ Walsh 4:50
Great. So of course now during Coronavirus, things are kind of on a pause in terms of casinos and gas. In Japan, there was a lot of movement up until the Coronavirus happened. And it seems like now everything’s kind of on a pause. But probably after vaccines maybe from next year, things will start moving forward. And from a sustainability perspective, it’s interesting. You came from Hawaii. I grew up in Hawaii, so it’d be great to know. Okay, yeah. Okay. But in terms of sustainability, it’s like cruise ships, casinos recently, things that often have just a negative. And but they are a huge employer industry. They are something that a lot of governments are keen to start because of the economic input. And it’s definitely something we need to talk about and think about that best practice. And you’ve worked with some great companies over the years. You were working with Starwood Yes, hotels have a very good reputation for training their staff about looking for wastage, saving energy, doing renewable energy, you also worked with Las Vegas Sands, which has a very good reputation for esgs, which is like a new term environment, society, government compliance. So you’ve got some really great insights, probably into those industries. And I know there’s a lot of concern, you also mentioned Singapore, is that right?

Chris Wieners 6:33
That’s correct. Yes. At the time, when I was working with the Las Vegas Sands group in Macau, we were also in the process of pre opening the Marina Bay Sands property in Singapore.

JJ Walsh 6:45
And I know that Singapore had a lot of similar concerns to the Japan market. Yes. So they wanted to limit the amount of locals who could access the casino so that there wouldn’t be more gambling problems with the local population. And I heard that Japan also wanted to limit to 10 times locals could visit a casino in Japan, is that right?

Chris Wieners 7:13
That’s right. I mean, one of the first things a new market, excuse me, sorry, one of the first things a lot of these new markets look for in Japan is no different is, you know, the impact of if we talk about gaming, in particular, the impact to society, the impact, of course, to the environment to the local community. And that’s, you know, that’s, that’s really key when we talk about the development of and ultimately, the selection process for casino operators or what we call integrated resort operators. Because, you know, a lot of times when we say casino, and a lot of people you know, in Japan in particular, a lot of people when you say casino, they think of the movie, you know, Scorsese’s movie, the, you know, casino, that a lot of people are not necessarily familiar with what integrated resorts offer and I mean, that not only from a commercial perspective to to clients and to visitors and to tourists, but also to the local community.

And then, again, much more than just the economic impact is what are the you know, what are the what are the impacts to the social fabric of a community that a gaming a gaming facility enters. So, in the case of a place like Singapore, you know, if you talk about the the locals gaming aspect, which is, hey, we, we want to ensure that we don’t create an additional problem gaming environment or additional opportunities to to enhance this whole problem gaming aspect. In Singapore, they instituted you know, the maximum amount of times people can enter the casino, as well as a relatively hefty Levy, which is approximately 100 US dollars. So, before a Singaporean can even enter, in addition to having to provide their ID card to walk into the to the casino floor, there’s a levee that must be processed, every time that person enters the floor. So it keeps out people that could potentially become problem gamers. And then again, there is a tracking mechanism in place to make sure that they manage the amount of times that people can enter. In Japan, a lot of the opposition has very much been, you know, focused on the rightfully so problem gaming, and how they’re going how that you know, could negatively impact the local society. And you know, there’s a lot of examples given here around the betting that does exist Pachinko obviously as an industry here and some of the negative connotations of that industry, unfortunately. And it’s really going to be up to not only the government, but these operators who should be experts in their field who have implemented best practices, in many cases around the world, in different countries, in different cultures in different markets, it’s their responsibility to ensure that they work with the governments locally at the municipality level and at the at the national level, to develop initiatives that are going to help you know.

Of course, they there’s an understanding that they want to you know, their bottom line and increase their customer base, but they also have to act responsibly. And that is something that, again, I don’t necessarily think it gets a lot of exposure when you look at gaming and integrated resorts, but there’s a lot of work that these corporations do behind the scenes, Vegas in Singapore, great examples of that.

In regards to how they manage those types of issues, and that’s, that’s on the social aspect, then, of course, you have the the environmental impact, and that sort of local societal impact. So the creation of jobs is, is of course, that’s key, you know, in places like Singapore, and in Japan is has been spoken about getting more women in the workforce. So offering things like on site, childcare services, education, stipends, all of these things that casino operators are able to do, because of the sheer size, mass scale and budget of the properties.

Again, that is very much behind the scenes, but is really core in terms of their values, and what they try and offer to help, you know, manage their sustain the local community.

And then of course, there’s the environmental aspect, which you know, you could look at every casino is going to or any This is not just the casino industry, you mentioned cruise ships, the hospitality and tourism industry, at large, looks at everything from you know, utilizing green technology, food, you know, food recycling and wastage, management, waste management, excuse me, you know, green energy, all of these things are really core, but integrated resorts, generally speaking, especially the larger players and operators. They’re under very intense scrutiny by governments in which they offer by governments in jurisdictions of which they operate, to showcase that they’re really serious about managing these sort of sustainable efforts.

So yeah, it’s it’s, it’s really important that I think that for the operators that are trying to enter the Japan race, to potentially build an integrated resort in the country, that is going to be core for them, showcasing the efforts that they’re going to take to be able to manage and develop sustainable a sustainable business within these communities. Because again, in Japan, we’re not only looking at major cities, you know, we’re not only looking at places like Osaka, and potentially Yokohama, but we’re looking at rural communities, Wakayama, sable out of Nagasaki, which is I still consider relatively rural. You know, these are not the big cities. And they also need, you know, they are going to need to import best practices to ensure that these these developments are sustainable, and that ultimately, they benefit the community that they’re that they’re supposed to be serving.

JJ Walsh 12:40
Yeah. And let’s talk about some of the best practices. I mean, on the one hand, like you mentioned before, to kind of limit the amount that locals use the casino, and to get social impact, such as gambling problems. I mean, we already have that with Pachinko horse racing a bunch of different kinds of gambling. But the integrated resorts casino is kind of a new topic, right? Yes. Yes, they said they were going to limit the area to 3% of the actual space. So maybe most of it would be a hotel resort, and then just a small area, which is limited. Anybody under 18 can enter it’s limited to locals in terms of having to pay a fee and the amount of times that they can use. So it seems like they are considering the social impact things quite seriously. There’s a lot of regulation. And then of course, 30% of the gaming tax goes to the local and national government. So yes, that’s that’s the big incentive. Why Japan wants to open up to casinos. Right?

Chris Wieners 13:47
Absolutely. I think that the approach that these casinos will, the model that these casinos will take, we’ll be very much a Singapore model back to the levy aspect. So it’s unlike Las Vegas or even Macau, to an extent Macau, they do check your ID when you try and walk through the floor. So if you’re with kids or family, you’re unable, you know, to walk through the casino floor unless you there’s always roundabout ways, which funnily enough, you know, can be annoying to some people. Because the way these hotels are designed is that they make you walk through the casino floor to go to your hotel room. So if you have a family, you have to go, you know, in an elevator up to the second floor across and come down. But anyway, I think for Japan, you know, it’s going to be like entering an amusement park in the sense that you’re going to have to showcase your passport.

Or you’re going to have to showcase your ID. And you’re not going to be able to flip freely walk onto the casino floor, you’re going to have to there’s going to be heavy limitations as to who can actually as who can actually get onto that floor to play. And then as I said there’ll be a levy for Japanese nationals, who you know, in terms of no limit on how many times they’ll be able to actually to actually gamble on the floor. So I think that there is, it’ll be taken quite seriously here, there’s other sort of aspects which are still being drafted. You know, and again, this is where, you know, operators versus, you know, social sustainability have to some find some common ground. So, for example, there’s been discussions of not having ATMs on the casino floor. So basically, it’s not really possible for you to, you know, easily collect cash out, which, again, from a sustainability perspective, it makes sense, you know, in terms of keeping people from being able to constantly run back and grab more money.

Of course, there’s always ways around that, and that can create other problems, which we don’t go into today. But there has to be a balance. And I think that is where, you know, the Japanese government, both at the municipality and at the national level, need to make clear what their expectations are. Because what what absolutely needs to be managed is the aspect of problem gaming. You know, I’m watching the comments here, you know, and Hannah, absolutely, I mean, you’re mentioning that, you know, gambling can destroy lives and families? Absolutely, there’s no question. You know, this is a vise industry in that regard in the gambling regards that needs to be managed. And if the government is clear on its intentions, and what it expects from operators, from the beginning, operators, I think will meet those goals and help manage it, then there’s the aspect of the 3% rule. So 3% of this massive space will be the casino floor. Now what ultimately what will happen is you have again, similar to to Singapore, you’ll have a massive resort, with entertainment, food and beverage hotels, shows, again, if you in this case, if you think of retail space, if you think of Las Vegas, or you think of Singapore, where you have, you know, the majority, the overwhelming majority of the property is actually leisure. Leisure focused or mice, meetings and incentives and conventions focused.

And the conventions business is massive. And I think that’s an area again, you could sort of branch off and talk about Japan. And unfortunately, you know, from a convention perspective, Japan is quite limited with its ability to manage conventions, both from a hotel capacity perspective, as well as just from a floor perspective. You know, in Tokyo, we have, I think, one one or two pillarless ballrooms available, and the largest one is still, you know, pales in comparison to what you see in other major cities around the world. So if you want to get these big international, you know, these big international shows and incentives and events, you know, it requires the development of these types of things. Now, there has been discussion outside of IR in places like Yokohama by, for example, the Port Authority in the development of integrated resorts without the casino element, so build everything just don’t take the casino. Of course, the argument from government. You know, joy, JJ, as you mentioned, is then well, what about that? You know, what about that tax rate? Because obviously, the Bennett you know, the at the end of the day, the gaming tax is where a lot of the revenue comes from

JJ Walsh 18:01
income will be significantly down, they found in the Singapore Marina Bay Sands 70% of all the revenue from that facility is from gaming. So, absolutely, when you have an inbound tourism model, which is bringing in people who want to go to the casinos and gamble that they expect, especially like for the Osaka area, or Yokohama area, they’re expecting 70% of the inbound visitors to that area to come. For the casino.

Chris Wieners 18:36

JJ Walsh 18:36
I mean, this was before Coronavirus,

Chris Wieners 18:39
of course, right.

JJ Walsh 18:40
You know, in terms of increasing the amount of tourism, this is something very attractive to the government. And so it’s very likely to happen. So let’s talk about how we can do it in a better way for the local communities in a better way for the environment. Let’s not just ignore that this is bad and not top. Right.

Chris Wieners 19:01
Right. Exactly.

JJ Walsh 19:02
And think about how we can go forward the to support people and planet and income at the same time.

Chris Wieners 19:11
Totally agree, totally agree. And I think that that’s where it’s it’s very important that in these cities where or these prefectures, even where this is potentially going to proceed. The local governments, obviously because of Coronavirus, the last year has been quite slow in this regard, because this is of course not the focus right now is on COVID-19. However, prior to COVID, and I think that as hopefully, eventually when things become more sustainable with regards to COVID here in Japan, the governments and municipalities have have put on a lot of public hearings and events to sort of showcase and and hear back from the general public as to their thoughts what their feedbacks are, and to sort of get, you know, ideas and concerns from citizens which are then passed on to operators that are interested in Japan.

And it’s really important that the general public supports that and when I mean, by support is attends and that they get involved. Because ultimately, you know, one thing I will say is that I, you know, having having worked in the space and having worked with different prefectural governments on this, they are listening. And they are taking very seriously what the general public’s opinion is. And, you know, if, as you said, if the if the opinion is just what’s bad, so let’s ignore it. If ultimately, if the government is going which they are, they will proceed with these developments, it’s it’s important that the public is involved, and that they are involved in sort of raising the concerns that exist within their local communities, which are going to differ by by by location. So that it’s so that it’s that it’s clear to operators, again, what’s expected of them, if the public doesn’t get involved, it becomes very difficult. And really, it’s sort of just government making assumptions on, you know, what, what the community expects, and I think that that, and that community varies.

There have been events, for example, in Osaka events for that look that talked about, and I apologize, I don’t necessarily know the name of all the groups, but for example, the Women’s and Children’s Association, they held an event on IR, what is their expectation?

And this goes back into how can operators in gaming, you know, gaming developers, you know, create sustainable jobs for women to enter the workforce should they want? How can they provide, again, I mentioned things like childcare and education stipends, and a variety of things, but this was brought up, then you have sort of the the chambers of commerce or the local Chicago show, which their focus is on, you know, how are we going to ensure that local businesses benefit from this, so you don’t have a giant, you know, integrated resort company from Macau or Las Vegas into the scene, and then outsource all of their, you know, you know, all of their, you know, importing of whatever materials from overseas, right? How do we ensure that those contracts are given first to local companies to grow the local economy and to support local businesses and local jobs?

These are individual interest groups that will all have a play in or excuse me all have a say, in terms of how this proceeds, but people need to get involved, whether it’s private sector, whether it’s public sector, it’s very important that they help drive this train as it proceeds, because there is time. You know, right now, it’s still very, no matter what anyone says, it’s still a very early stage right now. And obviously, you know, COVID, has, has had a detrimental impact to the timeline. So I think there’s going to be a lot more major news regarding the timelines coming in the next couple of weeks, or one to two months here. So that’ll be interesting. But regardless, there’s still a lot of time for people to get involved in this development, I think it’s important that they do.

JJ Walsh 22:39
Yeah, for sure. I’ve done some research over the years with hotels in Japan. And quite often you see more of these best practice ideas in terms of sustainability from the International hotels. And so if you have these companies, like Starwood or Vegas Sands coming in, they already are well established in terms of training their staff, understanding all the different impacts of every part of the building of the staff structure of the input output of the sourcing. So if you have these kinds of models in place, I think it would actually elevate the business as usual standard in Japan in many ways. Also more equality in terms of gender, equal business, hiring, having childcare facilities on site, that kind of thing.

And let’s just go through first start with just to mention it, um, some of the things that they consider is about sourcing, like you said, So, um, you know, where where do the local products come from? Do they come from local businesses? Can we elevate the standards of the local business to have a higher quality for our customers. So that in terms of supply chain is also elevating the products for the local area, and helping the economy by supporting local businesses, talking about construction using renewable energy LED lights, thinking about your water catchment and waste management. You know, partnering with third parties like UNICEF, we know that for casinos, and a lot of gambling and human trafficking and child exploitation, it’s unfortunately connected to having a third party which is well respected to think about only that part and be a watchdog is also really important. So there’s, there’s so many of these, these great standards that are kind of already in place for the Correct. Correct I think if that kind of collaboration or that kind of standard came with whatever big project to Japan, that would be a big asset.

Chris Wieners 25:03
Absolutely. You’ve hit it on the head. I mean, you’ve got these large international organizations that are well respected in the areas they operate, they have best practices that are proven and not just proven in, say, America where we’re just going to take an American concept and drop it here, we’re going to take a Singaporean concept and drop it here. These are companies, you know, in particular, the two that you’ve just mentioned, Starwood Hotels, which is now Marriott, and then you’ve got the Las Vegas Sands group, you know, these are companies that have worked again, across let me start with, you know, every, you know, nearly every country in the world, they have some, you know, some some Mariette they have some integration, in the Las Vegas Sands having worked, you know, in America, in Macau, in Singapore, looking at many, many new markets, not only, you know, Japan, and you know, they’re just two examples.

You could talk about so many different examples of, of international organizations that look at resorts or the hospitality industry at large. And exactly, they have well oiled sustainability and CSR machines, that again, sort of are replicated, localized, replicated and localized in the markets they operate. And I think, you know, you give that example of, you know, sourcing local products, it’s absolutely true. I mean, there’s, you know, these properties, when they when they source in the supply chain, there is, of course, a standard of which they, they must operate, and the standard, which they’re willing to accept, and working with local businesses to ensure that there’s two key things, one to ensure the standard is where they needed to be so they can procure from the local business.

The second is, of course, volume. You know, one of the things I think, in the beginning that businesses in Japan are concerned about when they start to learn the scale of these operations is, how are we going to provide the volume, because we’ve never, you know, especially in rural communities, I go back to places like Wakayama and sable and Nagasaki, you know, there’s, there’s nothing in comparison to what could potentially be developed. This is on a scale, unlike almost anything that Japan currently offers, in terms of tourism. So understanding and ensuring that local businesses can scale, helping them scale as need be, and helping ensure that when they scale, the quality of the product, or products is where it needs to be to procure the product that is really important. So absolutely, it’s as you said, it’s, it’s a chain reaction, it’s sort of, we’re going to need this widget.

So that widget is going to become elevated not only in terms of the quality and the but also the quantity, and it’s going to increase again, everything that business now becomes successful. Because overnight, we’ve gone from producing, you know, 100 widgets a day to you know, 1000 widgets a day. You know, now that’s, that’s what’s required. And that’s, that’s across everything that’s across so many sectors, it’s across agriculture, it’s, it’s across everything. So it has the opportunity to really elevate the local communities in terms of you know, in terms of the, the in terms of the local business scene. But again, that has to be planned in advance, you can’t sort of build it and then hope for the best, this all has to be done in parallel to the operational side, which is okay, we’re going to, you know, contract that and build this massive resort. There’s many things that have to be done in tandem. And these large global organizations, they know that and they’re used to it, they’ve done it many times. So bringing those best practices to Japan are only going to help to help the local economy overall at large.

JJ Walsh 28:30
Yeah. And continue. accountability. Yes, parties overseeing things, you know, not leaving it completely up to one company. Correct. having lots of collaboration, unfortunately, it has been in the news recently because of scandals. Yes. There have some, you know, bribes changing hands have been in the news. Let’s have a look at this article from Japan time. So we’ve had a lawmaker who pleads not guilty over the graph scandal, for she knows but you know, there has been a lot of negative publicity or drops its plans to open a Casino Resort by 2020.

And localities in Japan, concerned about casinos, the LDP plans to have tax free casino winnings for non resident gamblers. So you’ve kind of got pulled on both sides, right? Yes, absolutely. They’re trying to make it as attractive as possible for international visitors. But they also are being pulled by local governments and local communities who are very concerned rightly so about what’s going to happen once they open. So I know you you don’t represent any of these companies, but as a marketer, it’s so important as well, to be transparent and to understand all sides sexual In language is honest and reveals what is the true situation? Of course.

Chris Wieners 30:08
And I think that, you know, like the the akimoto bribery scandal, which was on the top of that that list, you know, this was a this was a big deal for Japan, it’s sort of it’s one of the things that that was there were the I think the government had thought there were so many, so many people that looking at this, that all this couldn’t happen, and it did. And I think that Yeah, absolutely. I agree that you can’t, you don’t want to sweep things under the rug, either that have happened, or they have the potential to happen, because again, there’s best practice probably isn’t the right word.

But there are there are definitely practices that you could look at around the world in any jurisdiction with regards to the negative aspects of gaming, and not only problem gaming, all the other things, obviously, you mentioned corruption, you know, all the other pieces that potentially fall into play.

And I think that it’s important that, you know, when we’ve worked with operators, for example, looking at Japan, we were we were you know, we were very clear, from a marketing perspective, we said the same thing is that you need to be transparent with regards to hear them hear the negatives, right? And here’s how we combat the negatives, because for every negative there is there is a way to combat or to try and manage that. And I think that it’s important to be transparent, you don’t want to pretend that the kaming and it’s obvious, right? Everyone knows, you don’t want to pretend the gaming industry is, is without any issues.

You know, there are there there are many. And I think that it’s important that you take those head on. I think that for international operators, it’s easier because they’ve done this before. They’re used to it. They know the issues, and they know how to deal with them. I think, you know, with all due respect, I think for the Japanese government, it’s much more difficult, not only from a cultural perspective, but also because this is the first time they’ve done this. This is I mean, okay, you could compare Pachinko and existing, you know, betting industries that exist, but it’s not it’s not really the same. There are there are crossovers for sure.

JJ Walsh 31:55
Very different,

Chris Wieners 31:58
Absolutely. Gambling, so many components that fell into it. Correct. And and I think that the Japanese government should also be transparent with, you know, I go back to the the bribe scandal with the 500 calm guys. You know, they this happened, it’s it’s going to be very loud in the news. It’s massive. In our industry news, we’re seeing constant updates barrages in, in all markets regarding what’s happening with this trial. And it’s important that the government is not only transparent about it, but sort of says, okay, we, we recognize this is a problem, here’s how we’re going to amend it fix this. So it doesn’t happen again.

And I think that that is an area that’s, you know, again, for, for with all due respect, is really lacked from the government side is the transparency to the to the to the negatives. And, again, sort of a plan, you know, a plan in terms of what are we going to do? How are we going to manage this, almost like a crisis management plan to say, Okay, this has happened? What’s our communication strategy? How do we how do we, how do we market this market is not the right word, but what is our communication strategy, and that’s been lacking. And that’s a problem, because what it looks like to your average citizen, is that it’s sort of being brushed under the rug, or that we’re trying to hide something. And that’s not good. And that only further adds fuel to the fire.

With regards to those who are, you know, against, and strongly against gaming, this is just, this is great fodder for those people as as, and it makes sense, because, again, why, you know, Why could How should, how can we trust an industry, where we’ve had all these issues already, we don’t even have a shovel in the ground, start building a property, and already we’re having all of these problems. This is not good. And they’re right. So it’s, it’s gonna be really important for the government to change the outlook in terms of how they deal with these types of these types of negative publicity. And it’s important that operators are also very forthcoming with regards to here are the potential impact negative impacts, and we see them all over the world, we see them in every market. It’s not unique to Japan, it there may be components in terms of culture that are unique here.

But in terms of the bottom, the bottom line, it’s going to, we’re going to have the same problems that we have in every integrated resorts around the world, we must put mechanisms in place to manage those, whether it’s, you know, corruption at any level, whether it’s, you know, private public sector, government sector, you know, you mentioned everything from obviously, the human trafficking aspect to all of these negatives, which nobody, nobody likes to talk about, believe me, nobody likes to talk about but they must be because the public is talking about them. And if they’re not talking about it, they’re thinking about it.

Yeah. And another big issue, I think, for the operators, if they’re coming in from abroad would be the labor shortage. Like there’s just not that many people who’s, you know, a casino.

JJ Walsh 34:50
How many people is it, is it in the tens of thousands? For example, the Las Vegas Sands employees. They even have had a 11 percent decline since 2019, but currently employ almost 45,000 people. It’s It’s really amazing. Like in terms of, if these are decent jobs, this is a big support to the economy. Can Japan support that right now we’re having such a labor crunch is another concern on the other side, right?

Chris Wieners 35:24
Correct. And that’s it’s been, that’s a major point of discussion, when you listen to operators and government talking, which is, of course, the ability to, so that it’s, there’s multiple folds there. So one is, of course, the, at the end of the day, the labor shortage. And then the second is, again, as you said, making sure that these are quality jobs that people aspire to have. And that’s not only from a salary perspective, but also from a excuse me one second, I’m sorry, quality of life. So it’s from a quality of life perspective. It’s also from a, from a training and long term, career sustainability perspective. So what are my What are my career aspirations?

You know, I don’t just want to, you know, if I don’t just want to become a casino dealer, you know, and I have aspirations to move up that corporate ladder, what are the opportunities for me, and to be fair to operators, that’s an area that from a human resource perspective, they do, they’re very, very good at. Knowing the labor market, Macau, Macau faced a very similar issue.

So Macau is incredibly strict on the importation of foreign labor, for example. So it’s when I was there, when I came, when I arrived in 2007, there was a significant amount of foreign labor that had come in, and it was under the guise, rightfully so at the time of, you know, these are the first sort of international gaming operators or gaming operations in the region.

We need international assistance to get these things up to par with an international level. And we want to train locals, Macau citizens on how to operate gaming institutions. And the government said, Okay, that’s fair. And I think at the time, they gave them a 10 or 15 year timeline to say, look over the next 15 years, you need to ensure that you know, and there were milestones and the next five years, we have to cut this many, we call them blue cards, basically, they were the foreign visas. So we have to cut this many foreign workers.

And you know, every so many years, there was another threshold. So you get to the point to the day that really, anybody that’s not a vice president or above, and even those positions, unless you’re a Macau local, it’s very, very difficult to get foreign import for that labor, unless you can prove that there’s absolutely no one in the market that can do it. And that’s not only through CVS, but also showing I’ve gone to recruiters I posted everywhere, I you know, I’ve done my work. And this is managed by, you know, the Department of Labor in Macau, so they make sure they check all of this and they’re incredibly, Macau, I give them a lot of credit, they’re very good at making sure that local citizens are managed and taken care of by these international operators.

Singapore does something somewhat similar, but the labor issue in Singapore is a bit different. So in Japan, where you do have that labor shortage, it’s ensuring that these are good paying high quality jobs that have long term career sustainability. And when there is realistically no opportunity, and no, no opportunity to find anyone local for the role. That is where again, there’s the the aspect of foreign labor comes into play, but it must be managed, it should not be a sort of, you know, open the floodgates and make it make it easy to bring as many foreign workers in as you want. I think that again, if you look at in this case, the Macau model of how there was a timeline and sort of milestones in terms of the long term prospects of how these operations will proceed with regards to human resources.

That’s something that, you know, the the Department of Labor here in Japan could also focus on to ensure that, again, we’re training people correctly, and that there are long term career aspects. So, ultimately, 20 years from now, these operations are, you know, operated, you know, primarily by by Japanese citizens, again, understanding that for something this large, you’re going to need a level of imported foreign labor, there’s no question about it. But it’s how you maintain that. And again, how do you sustain that over the long term that needs to be well thought out?

JJ Walsh 39:07
That’s certainly an aspect of international best practice for sustainable businesses. The idea of when you first establish in a new country, bringing your own staff, and slowly over time, adding more trained locals more and more, whereas Eventually, the percentage of local versus non local staff is a high majority for local staff in that business.

Chris Wieners 39:39
Yes, yes, absolutely. And that’s, again, this goes back to understanding what these integrated resorts bring to the local to the local, not only economy, but the local society at large. This is the type of thing that needs to be discussed and made very clear that we’re going to bring not only jobs, but we’re going to bring good jobs and we’re going to bring jobs that have long term career paths for people. That would like to like to take that and that’s and, and, and not only career paths in Japan, international opportunities, people that want to work overseas, people that want to work in other jurisdictions, that’s all part of the, the the long term, you know, human resource side of things that needs to be that needs to be made very clear.

JJ Walsh 40:17
Actually, in my case, as well, when I was a university student looking for part time work, I was very attracted to international businesses, like TGI Fridays, hard rock, cafe, international, Spaghetti Factory. So all of these businesses, which if you even get a part time job, you can transfer to other areas of the world. So this kind of mobility of staff around the world at a higher international standard, would be very appealing for a labor and people looking for jobs in Japan, with maybe higher equality standards for diverse groups who are normally marginalized in Japan.

Chris Wieners 41:07
I think so too. And again, it’s sort of anytime you’re looking at the tourism or hospitality industry, I mean, this is the reality you have so much opportunity to I mean, I you mentioned, you know, yourself it same in Hawaii, when I worked for Starwood I, one of the key reasons I wanted to work for hotel chain, I actually started working for Starwood when I lived in Baltimore when I was right out of high school. And, you know, that was the reason I took that job was because I wanted to, you know, I wanted to go to Hawaii. And I was like, well, this is one company, you know, in little old bel air, Maryland, where I grew up that has some level of connection, and I found my way, and it worked out.

So having those opportunities for the people that are interested in them. absolutely key. So one of the many, many components of how these integrated resorts can can benefit, you know, the local community. But absolutely, as we said, you know, you have to take the, the the bull by the horns, basically, with regards to the negative societal aspects, and they have to be managed, and they have to be clearly spoken about upfront, it can’t be something swept under the rug, because that will just create further distrust of the industry.

JJ Walsh 42:08
And like anything we talked about for sustainability, it has to be an ongoing thing. It’s not just Okay, now we’re sustainable, it’s finished, we don’t have to talk about it. Again, it’s not just that it’s a constant assessment of consumer feedback, staff insights, local community feedback, government compliance, third party, which are sustainably focused certifications. That’s the way it should be for almost any business.

Chris Wieners 42:40
Yes, it’s a never ending process. And it’s constantly being optimized. You know, again, you sort of go in with your initial, this is what we’re going to do. This is our plan, this is our, these are our goals, those are going to change over time. And again, you can look at any market, I think, as you said, for any business, really, but especially in an integrator resorts, you know, I can tell you that what, you know, these different integrated companies were doing 10 years ago is, you know, in terms of sustainability and CSR, a lot of it continues today. But it’s optimized, it’s optimizes change for the times change for the market change for the current situation. And that is something that never ends. And that’s why there are, you know, entire departments within these organizations related to CSR related to sustainability. And they’re not, you know, they’re not small departments for lack of a better mirror. There’s not one or two guys there are, you know, they’re there, and they’re not committees these are, this is their full time job is just to manage sustainability, or just to manage the CSR of the organization.

JJ Walsh 43:37
Well, we know that there’s good economic incentive to do this 2019 survey found that 70% of global travelers are more likely to book eco friendly or more sustainable hotel or lodging options, whether they’re able to find it or not, is a different question. But in 2019 70%, were looking for these more sustainable options. So we know there is a huge demand, and especially after Coronavirus when travel resumes, I think we can expect that to be even higher demand for more eco friendly options and sustainable options.

Unknown Speaker 44:21
Absolutely. You know, it is the the sustainable aspect, you know, whatever the area, whether you’re talking about green energy, or or or waste management, recycling, all of that sustainable hotels and sustainable tourism options are really important to not only of course, the local community, but to the consumers. You know, we talked about Hawaii, you know, Hawaii is all about sustainable tourism. And that’s, you know, because the other side of it you get is over tourism, right, where you just promote, promote, promote and you know, you have a great destination and then as a result, the local infrastructure, whatever that infrastructure is, is just destroyed. Whether it’s transportation, whether it’s a place like Hawaii with, you know, natural, you know, a lot of natural elements, you know, ecosystems. It gets, it gets ruined.

Unknown Speaker 45:09
So most destinations, and this is true. I mean, I see it and I’ve heard it in Macau, you hear it in Singapore, you hear in Hawaii, we’ve done some work in Guam. You know, we hear Guam as well. We, yeah, the sustain of the customers are looking for those sustainable options. And if you go to, you know, online travel agents, places like Expedia places like, you know, try Travelocity all the otas. They’re also really pushing, you know, the sustainability aspect of these properties. So yes, it’s it’s important, and it’s a marketing tool, as well, as you said, it’s not only good, you know, from a social perspective, but it’s also a good opportunity to promote what you’re doing. And people do care.

JJ Walsh 45:53
It’s great branding, and appear building brand appeal, not only for the business, but for the destination. Absolutely. Molly, you can’t hear me. Is it better? Much better?

Chris Wieners 46:03
No, I was gonna say it was hard for me as well, a moment ago. But now Now you’ve, for me, it’s much better now.

JJ Walsh 46:14
Let’s switch gears a little bit, because you’re in Okayama, and you’ve been kind of promoting Okayama alcohol. Tell us about that a little bit.

Chris Wieners 46:23
Yes. So we, we have a client, which is has now sort of turned into a much more long term opportunity for us. So you know, coming to Oklahoma, and just, you know, living here, sort of in the sort of, I say rural, I mean, there’s still half a million people in the city. But, you know, if you drive I tell anyone who’s never been here, if you drive 15 minutes from where, you know, the station is the central Oklahoma station, in any almost any direction, you’re going to hit rice fields and farms. And that’s, you know, it’s it’s a, it’s a relatively small area. So anyway, we, we began speaking with someone here who was very interested in the the export of, of various products, and their initial focus was on alcohol. And what basically, what we’ve what we’ve done with them is, we’ve started outreach to a variety of local makers, or shoes, those here in Oklahoma, many of which are very, very, I mean, I have a couple of photos up here that you’ve placed, like, some of these makers are really rural, you know, out in the countryside, you know, an hour outside of the city center.

And they’ve been making whatever it is they’re making, whether it’s, you know, a sock, a show to beer, different liquor, they’ve been making, in some cases, for you know, over 200 250 years, these family businesses have been in existence. And now it’s run by, you know, the grandson of the great grandson or granddaughter of the original maker. And it’s it’s a, it’s a, it’s an operation that is it’s it’s crazy to walk into these places, these very old buildings, the operations are just as they were other than, you know, modernized equipment. And there’s a handful of people making these small batch brews. Again, we have everything here with regards to different types of alcohol. So what we wanted to do was basically bring what we have this taste of Oklahoma, but basically bring what Oklahoma does, to some level of mainstream in other markets.

And, you know, going back to Macau, which is where I’ve spent the last 10 years prior to coming to Japan, you know, in in Macau, and in China, in general, there’s a lot of demand for for Japanese products, food and beverages is on top of that list. So we looked at it as an opportunity to help these makers sort of grow their their brands and sort of maintain their existing, you know, product lines, by exporting outside of outside of Japan, you know, it and we have several types of makers here in the sense that there are a few. So like one of the one of the companies, we work with Miyashita shoes off there, they make dopo beer, which is, you know, one of Oklahoma’s most famous beers here, you see it everywhere. It’s in a lot of the grocery stores and you can buy it, you know, around Japan, you can buy it in Tokyo, and they do export overseas, they export to Singapore, to Taiwan, to parts of the US, so they’re still small, but they are the biggest small batch, you know, craft brewer in in Okayama.

But outside of them, the other makers that we work with are considerably smaller, and they’re very small batch. A lot of them have not really exported some of them. You know, another beer maker here, the one that I’m holding up this, this keybie kisses from Brewery, you know, I think the furthest they export to is like he made it. So they really are only doing very, very local export and very, very local sales and it’s very low volume. But they would be they’re interested, you know, and in discussing with them, they’d love to grow their business, they would love to be able to show that they have, you know, purchasers in in Macau or in Hong Kong or in Hawaii, for example.

They just don’t have the capabilities to do the sales outreach. In the marketing outreach, and that’s, that’s various it’s, it’s, it’s, its language is one component of it, but just the time and the ability, because again, their, their focus is just really on getting their batches out to what they need, you know, and that’s really what they’re able to maintain. So we’ve we’ve, we’ve partnered with a variety of local companies, there are a few outside of Okayama, because we had a few contact us, we had one from Kumamoto one from Tokyo, but we’re Our goal is really, you know, 90% of what we’re pushing or promoting is from Okayama.

And our goal is to sort of promote Okayama as a prefecture that, you know, produces really high quality local spirits, and which ultimately draws attention, which ultimately brings tourism in the future. I mean, this was all started, you know, prior or just around the time that COVID-19 was hitting. So we sort of thought, Okay, well, let’s take the next year to year and a half to sort of build the brand and create the partnerships. And then once you know, COVID sort of dissipates Okayama starts to become on the map is this place that has a really great beverage culture.

And it does. One of the whiskies actually, that we that that’s made here locally was a world whiskey award winner in a in a small batch sort of no age category to two years ago, back in 2019. So we have some world class product here in Okayama. It’s just not necessarily widely known as a prefecture or as a as a location for for small batch brews. So our goal is really to get the names of these makers out there, you know, get, again, prior to COVID, they were doing some tours, for example, some of the tour bus companies were bringing in tourists to kind of view the the facilities that’s all stopped, of course, as a result of COVID, but we want to support them. And we want that to kick off again, in full force once once the foreign visitors start coming back.

JJ Walsh 51:48
Yeah, it’s funny because when I first came to Japan many years ago, the trend was imported whiskey was kind of everybody was like, I imported whiskey is the best. And recently, when I visit family or friends abroad, they always asked me to bring Japanese whiskey. And they’re really like seeking out certain whiskey brands from Japan, there’s been kind of a boom in the last 510 years maybe.

Chris Wieners 52:16
Yeah, Japanese whiskey has really has really taken off. And I think, you know, over the past decade, as you said, there’s been a lot of brews from throughout Japan and have won really, you know, global awards, back to the world whisky awards, you know, in in Scotland, like you have all these Japanese companies which are starting to to win these these high accolades, both in small batch and in in larger batches. And as a result that sort of has become a worldwide trend. I mean, I see it in Hawaii, I see it in definitely no question in China and Macau, Hong Kong.

Even in the in even in America, when I’ve gone back to Maryland to see, you know, family and friends. It’s really, really sought after the Japan as Japan is a whiskey brand in particular, is a really sought after brand right now, so much so in a negative way, that it’s actually caused a lot of brewers who were making like one of my favorite whiskies is taketsuru, 1717, eight years aged, it doesn’t exist anymore, because it was just so popular, sort of a mid price brand whiskey that it was brought up and they just everything, there’s just no batches left, whatever’s left is spoken for.

So now it’s sort of, you know, you go online, you go to Taobao in China, you go to, you know, other other online searches. And, you know, it’s just, people have kind of hoarded it and are now selling it at these exorbitant prices. So they just stopped making it. They just discontinued. So the downside of it is that for some of the more popular whiskies, that it’s really, it’s caused a strain on the whole supply aspect, there’s just not enough of it to go around, which is, of course, in turn, have caused some of the prices to skyrocket. But for some of the local brewers,

JJ Walsh 53:54
that’s so interesting. When in the series, I talked to Brian ashcraft, who, who wrote a book on Japanese spirits, and he was talking about whiskey and then we’ve talked to Steven Lyman about choo choo, and a lot of the local industry for alcohol Sunday’s show to whiskey, and other spirits. They all support like an outside collective of like barrel makers and different kinds of traditional crafts people who create things that this the alcohol industry, Master us to, yes, we brew or distill different spirits and so it’s it’s not just like, one company that’s making all the money like you It made me realize how community connected and community supported a lot of the alcohol industry is in Japan. You also mentioned craft beer. Yes. You find that of course with craft beer as well, right?

Chris Wieners 54:59
Yes. mean, to that point? I mean, exactly. We see like a lot of liquors, especially in Oklahoma liquors are really famous here. So we’ve got, you know, every prefecture sort of has the things that they’re proud of and famous for Oklahoma, it’s peaches, a little bit of yuzu. What else do we have? You may make plums, of course, issue. So all of these, all of these, you know, infusions that go into these, these, these drinks, our this this alcohol is, it’s made, of course, that that then that then rolls down to the farmers and the, in the local agriculture, right? Who are now seeing an influx of requests from the alcohol makers, hey, you know, what we were doing, you know, 10 years ago, we’re now doing, you know, five to six times that in terms of the request, as you said, from being a barrel maker, be it agricultural institutions, and all of that is supported by this increase in demand on the beverage side, and you could, you could look at any aspect of increased demand food, of course, as well, but in our area of alcohol impacts, so many different components, and different industries or different different industries, basically, to support the making of the alcohol, craft beer is another I mean, the craft beer culture, you know, globally, of course, is has really exploded over the past, you know, 10 to 20 years, it’s, it’s a major thing.

And it’s, you know, it comes down to there are so many different types of craft beers, that it really comes down to, to marketing. And I joke, like, there are there are craft beers, which, like, he thought, you know, which is in northern Japan, they do what I call the albir, there’s like an owl on the front, they’ve done a massive marketing campaign love that way, I love it. But I always joke isn’t even craft beer anymore, because they’re producing. So I mean, they’ve got a, they’ve got a bar at Tokyo Station. Now they’ve, I mean, they’re everywhere. And they were started as this small craft brewery that just really nailed marketing. And now they’re this conglomerate, this giant organization. And that’s what they wanted, their goal was to grow their business, and they did an amazing job at it, and they produce a good quality product. So, you know, for the others were, and look, we’ve seen both sides, there are to be, you know, to be honest, there are a lot of of local makers that we’ve spoken to that aren’t interested right there, they’re very happy with what they’ve got.

They don’t want they’re not interested in, it’s not about growing their business, but they say what we have is sustainable. And we don’t want to get to a point where we cannot sustain the demand or that we have to sacrifice the quality, we’re worried that could sink our business, and that completely respect and understand. But again, there are those that are interested in internationalizing and growing their product, but they don’t necessarily have either the the budget, you know, to do it in house or the knowledge or the ability themselves for a variety of reasons to do it. So working with, you know, Sky Hopper, which is this company that was created in Okayama. To to, to, to allow for the promotion of these, these small batch brews.

Working with somebody like that, you know, to basically be the bridge between the product and the buyers at the other end is really going to be beneficial to them, you know, and just helps them with with everything. I mean, the company is helping not only with sales, but logistics, you know, to be honest, before I started helping them with this, I knew nothing about import export, I really I was not me, I’m a marketing guy i didn’t i wasn’t a logistics person. I have learned over the past, you know, six months to a year more about logistics, especially specific, specifically out of Japan, and I ever thought I would know and it’s fascinating. It’s I’m really, it’s really interesting. And I understand why for, you know, for some of the smaller companies that are family run and operated, it can be incredibly complicated. What’s required to do international logistics with forwarders and licensing requirements and the tax aspects and managing bonded warehouses and all these things that are just, they’re not overly complicated. But there are just so many things that need to be done if you want to export this and that’s on this side, then you’ve got to manage the other side, which is depending on the country you’re importing to, of course can have you know can be incredibly complicated you know, countries like America where it’s it’s it’s quite difficult to do.

Macau luckily is a relatively easy company country to import into. But anyway, for a lot of these family businesses, it’s it’s more work than it’s worth, you know, to do it themselves. So working with them to help grow and expand their brands and their business, which ultimately helps grow and expands. The Okayama destination brand is what we’re what we’re trying to achieve.

JJ Walsh 59:31
and Japan in general and of course

Chris Wieners 59:33
Japan in general across the board across the board.

JJ Walsh 59:35
I’m always impressed by how well sokay is known and accepted and branded abroad and it seems leaps and bounds ahead of the other alcohols up Japanese whiskey is kind of getting there as well. But should you when I was talking to Steven Lyman, like most shochu is made and sold and drank in only in Japan. Kind of exclusive Simply and then Japan craft beer is relatively unknown abroad. So there seems to be a lot of potential for this market. Is that what you see?

Chris Wieners 1:00:10
I absolutely I absolutely agree with you mentioned shochu. It’s funny, we literally had a tasting in Macau a week ago. And we had sent over, you know, different different bottles of whiskey, and vodka, gin, all made here locally and showed you. And, you know, they sort of they had shown me a photo, just the other day where they sort of lined the bottles up by the quality and what they liked versus what they didn’t and showed you all the show, she was at the very end, and they’re like, Look, their issue was they don’t. And for Greater China, they’re like, we just don’t know showed you like it’s just not in our culture. We don’t know if it’s good. If it’s not good. Is it quality of it’s not they don’t The taste is an acquired taste, I think because it’s not something that’s regularly drank in, in that market. So and that’s, you know, that’s China, which is a, you know, a pretty, you know, relatively close you know, culturally comparison, it’s much easier to sell something to China, maybe than it is to say America.

So yeah, I agree. The shochu culture, unfortunately, is not really picked up outside of Japan, I think it’s an opportunity again, it’s a matter of, of training is not the right word educating you’re showcasing to people, what shows you is how it can be used, because remember showed you showed you by itself is one thing, but then we have you know, luckier which is show two plus show two plus yuzu show two plus omega show two plus whatever, which completely changes the taste. So you know, we had a lot of people interested in Okayama UmeShu. Right plum wine, which is really sweet. You know, it has a quite a strong taste. And we’re explaining Well, that’s actually showed you it’s just showed you mixed with this, this this particular fruit. So it’s it’s the education, it’s the showcasing of what shochu is all about. Look, craft beer, you’re absolutely right craft beer, there’s a massive opportunity there. It’s just a matter of branding. And getting that word out. It’s not been something I think, because it’s such a competitive market, because every country, from America to Australia to you know, Hong Kong, they have their own local craft brews that they’ve worked very hard to promote.

Craft brew can be much harder to get into the market just because of the competition and the budgets that are required, you know, to really budget and the sales and marketing that’s required to get it in there as sort of a mainstream brand. And for again, for a lot of small batch breweries. It’s just not it’s just not reasonable. He Ticino was just one that really, I think, did everything, right? They had the right sales channels. They had the right marketing. They did a lot of events and things in Hong Kong and Macau, I can speak to because I saw them. So I think that, you know, they’ve been very fortunate, but it’s doable, but definitely showed you in craft beer, there’s this so much opportunity. In the West, in orange, I should say in any other markets are promoted. Again, going back to show two in particular, like the human issue aspect, it’s a sweet drink. It’s you know, all of the shochu mixed, you know, fruit drink. liquors are very, very sweet. And in some markets like America, where sweet is, you know, people really can appreciate the taste of sweeter drinks. I think that they would be it would be massive if it became mainstream, but it’s an it’s an education process that’s got to take place. And I think that that is a massive opportunity for Japan’s alcohol industry at large in the long term.

JJ Walsh 1:03:28
Yeah. Great. Well, thank you so much, Chris. So we talked about two big topics. In a short time.

Chris Wieners 1:03:35
Thank you so much.

JJ Walsh 1:03:36
Thank you so much for sharing your insights and your passion for helping these local businesses and also marketing for possibly huge new inbound business to Japan. Yeah, it’s it’s nice to know that there’s people like you helping with the communication side, because that’s so important in terms of sustainability and keeping things transparent.

Chris Wieners 1:04:03
Absolutely I agree. And no, I thank you very much for having me. It was a pleasure to be able to talk and I hope that those that are that are watching learned, you know, were able to have a few takeaways from it. Two very, very, totally different topics, but two that I’m incredibly passionate about. So, JJ, I appreciate you giving me some time this morning to talk and share my share my thoughts.

JJ Walsh 1:04:22
That’s wonderful. Thank you so much, and keep up the good work.

Chris Wieners 1:04:26
Thank you so much, JJ, and thank you to everyone who joined in watching. I appreciate it.

JJ Walsh 1:04:30
Thank you, everybody for for watching, and your comments and questions today. And that’s it for this week. Next week. We’re starting again from Monday, so I’ll put the schedule up sometime soon. Take care everyone. Have a great weekend.

Chris Wieners 1:04:45
Thanks, everyone. Take care. Have a good weekend. Thank you. Bye bye.

JJ Walsh 1:04:52
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