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Japan – Upper House rolls the dice for Japan’s future casinos

By - 15 December 2016

It is finally happening; Japan’s Upper House has now approved a casino bill that will allow the country to have its first Integrated Resort Casinos.

The revised bill was passed in both houses despite the opposition deploying delaying tactics with four opposition parties, the Democratic Party, the Japanese Communist Party, the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party, voting against it. It was supported though by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and an opposition party, Nippon Ishin no Kai.

The exact details of the integrated resorts will be pieced together next year with most analysts believing it has still come too late for casinos to be open in Japan in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Analysts believe that opening two integrated resorts in major population areas could generate GGR of $10bn with the chance of $30bn depending on their location.

Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen said: “This is a landmark occasion and should be a shot in the arm as it relates to investor sentiment in all gaming names that could be players in Japan. Quite simply, it represents the next and perhaps only other large opportunity to develop large-scale integrated resorts in Asia for a lot of these companies. Some of these companies, their revenues and cash flow are so large today that it would take an opportunity like Japan to move the needle for them.”

Wynn Resorts Chief Executive Officer Steve Wynn said: “To us, the opportunity is thoroughly Japanese and thoroughly delicious.”

American Gaming Association (AGA) President and CEO Geoff Freeman added: “The passage of legislation in Japan that makes possible the development of integrated resorts is truly historic. After decades of study, it is clear that the expansion of our industry in Japan will produce many of the same results it has in the United States: growth in jobs, tax revenues for community services, increased travel and tourism from domestic and foreign visitors — and vast economic expansion. As progress continues, the American Gaming Association looks forward to providing partnership and support to Japan’s cultural, business and civic leaders.”

MGM Resorts stated: “After years of study in the region, we believe the opportunity exists to drive significant growth in sustainable travel and tourism — particularly from international segments — along with the creation of thousands of jobs and long-term economic benefit. With an established, full-time development team in Tokyo pursuing discussions in Japan’s cultural and business communities, MGM Resorts is well-prepared to pursue future expansion efforts. We have been preparing for this possibility by enhancing our cultural commitment to Japan in the United States via our sponsorship of two world premiere Kabuki events with the famous Shochiku entertainment company and by showcasing established and emerging Japanese artists in the Company’s art collections across the country.”

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