Melco Crown shows commitment to Japan, donates millions to university

melco-crown-japan-casinoJapan hasn’t even legalized casinos yet the power brokers in the casino industry are already positioning themselves in anticipation of what’s widely expected to be a smooth legislation process.

It figures that if you’re angling to be part of what many consider potentially being the world’s second largest gambling market, you’re going to have to take the steps to ensure that you’re name smells really good.

That’s the strategy Melco Crown Entertainment is taking, and it’s a smart one at that. The Macau-based casino operator recently shelled out around $10 million as a sign of its commitment to Tokyo’s University of the Arts with the intention of fostering cultural development in Japan. Among the projects that have been earmarked for the donation include research on urban development and a “Kimono Culture” event sometime early next year, or as frat boys would like to call it, a “Saturday night”.

It’s become the least known secret that Melco Crown is an avid proponent of casino legalization in Japan. It’s already in record saying that it will have no problem dropping $5 billion on a casino project in the country, as sure a sign as any that the casino operator is smelling the pie that’s about to be made and wants a piece of it. Even if it takes forking over a cool $10 mil to get some buzz on its name.

Nobody is saying it outright (Melco spokeswoman Maggie Ma described the donation as “a contribution to cultural development in Japan”) but it does sound like Melco’s trying win some good vibes, even if there’s no specific law that forbids operators from doing so.

Considering the magnitude of what legalized casinos in Japan can do for casino operators, there’s a lot at stake for these companies. Melco already has a significant share in the Macau market, far and away regarded as the biggest gambling market in the world.

Having another one in Japan? That’s the dream.