Japan – Melco Crown in discussions over Japanese casino partnerBy Phil - 7 April 2014
Melco Crown has added itself to the growing list of international companies wanting to open a casino in Tokyo in time for the 2020 Olympics.
Crown Executive Todd Nisbet said Melco Crown had already held discussions with several Japanese companies.
Speaking to The Australian he said: “We think a local partner is a key ingredient. There have been meetings with various companies in Japan. It’s fair to say nothing has solidified yet. Japan is the biggest single opportunity that we are looking at in terms of an international expansion and growth story, just because of the sophistication of the market, the appeal of the overall area. Everybody has reached for another gear, whether it be the political bodies or prospective international companies that are interested in coming into Japan. There’s been this moment in time where the Olympics has crystallised thinking around what’s the best way to capitalise on Japan being on the world stage and really driving the next stage of growth that the Abe government is looking to do to reinvigorate the Japanese economy.”
CLSA Analyst Jon Oh believes that the introduction of 12 casinos in Japan would be capable of generating US$40bn by 2025, compared to Macau’s $US52bn and Singapore’s $6bn. He believes the first phase of casino openings will come in 2021 with two integrated resorts in Tokyo and Osaka and a destination resort in Okinawa. CLSA recently conducted a poll to find that only 35.9 per cent of respondents believed integrated resorts could revive the economy with 24 per cent saying they weren’t sure of the impact they would have.
A bill to legalise and regulate casino gaming in the country has now been passed to parliament. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party submitted the bill, which could make Japan the world’s second-largest casino market, along with the Japan Restoration Party and Hiroyuki Hosoda, the chairman of a cross-party group of pro-casino lawmakers. LDP’s junior coalition partner New Komeito has already approved the submission. Politicians now hope to pass the bill in the next Diet session that starts in January with the hope that casinos are up and running in time for when Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games in 2020. Timing is critical. Mr. Hosoda said that once the law is approved, a competitive bidding process to find an operator which could take five years.