As Tokyo opens its arms to casino operators, will Australian billionaire James Packer be swooned back to the land of the rising sun?
NHK World reported that newly-installed Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike is keen on operating a recreational complex – including a casino – in the city.
In throwing her support to the industry, Koike pointed out that putting up a casino in Tokyo will make the city more attractive and will help lure more visitors overseas.
Koike also signaled her support to any draft legislation to regulate and legalize casinos in certain areas of Japan. At present a legislation is being prepared by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party. It is not yet clear when the bill will be sent to the Parliament.
Passing the bill, however, will not be a problem since the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has gained outright majority in both houses of the legislature last month, strengthening the hand of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in relation to casinos.
So far, there are two top contenders for the Tokyo and Osaka licenses: gaming mogul Kazuo Okada’s Universal Entertainment as well as Sega Sammy, which is set to open the Paradise City in Incheon, South Korea.
Koike’s recent positive statement on Tokyo casinos may revive Packer’s love affair for the Japanese gambling market.
The Australian reported that Crown sees Japan as an opportunity to add to its global reach, particularly in the Asian region, which is focused on the rise of the Chinese tourists looking to travel abroad.
Should Tokyo opens its arms to casinos, a new Japanese resort would be included in Crown’s suite of offshore projects. Japan, after all, has been Crown’s most active long-term proposition, according to Crown Executive Vice-president, Strategy and Development Todd Nisbett.
He said the casino company and its joint venture partner, Melco Crown, had put Japan on its radar more than five years ago but had significantly increased its engagement over the last two and a half years.