If casinos are allowed in Japan, home to the world’s third-largest economy, estimates on the revenue show that Japan could potentially beat Las Vegas and Singapore. Japan has been touted as the next major casino market, after China hit the proverbial jackpot with Macau, currently the world’s biggest gambling hub. Analysts say that the variables are ideal in Japan, with a large and wealthy population, coupled with a proximity to Shanghai and Beijing – all pointing to a profitable future if Japan is transformed into a lucrative gambling center, even helping boost the country’s economy by providing tax revenues.
In terms of possible revenue, broker CLSA estimated that if the initial plans of putting up two large-scale gambling and entertainment resorts were approved, Japan’s gambling revenue could be worth US$10 billion – almost double Singapore’s US$5.9 billion and Las Vegas’s US$6.2 billion in 2012. The top earner is still Macau, raking in US$38 billion last year. With this as a target, a pro-casino group of Japanese legislators has named an influential member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) at its helm, as they plan to submit a promotional bill to parliament by September this year, aimed at opening Japan to casino gambling. This cross-party group hopes that if the bill passes, concrete laws could be made within two years, said Takeshi Iwaya, the deputy head of the pro-casino lobby, at the moment counting more than 100 members of parliament as supporters and members. The lobby has struggled in the past years, mainly because of the constant leadership changes in Japan. But the return of LDP’s Shinzo Abe to the prime minister’s seat is encouraging; more so because Abe is known to be business-friendly and has mentioned in his campaign that he was open to the idea of casino resorts. Iwaya revealed that the group would be announcing Hiroyuki Hosoda, a veteran LDP legislator and former chief cabinet secretary, as its chairman at today. Hosoda has the ear of the administration, something that the lobby had been lacking in the past couple of years. “You need both sides of the equation before things really get moving. We want to make that happen this year,” said Iwaya.
The group is proposing a multi-faceted, integrated model for resorts that uses tourism, conventions and entertainment, to bring people in, as well as providing casino gambling. This was Singapore’s strategy when it first put up a casino in 2010, and was immediately successful. Paul Bromberg, an industry expert and chief executive of consultancy Spectrum OSO Asia, said that the plan, if allowed, would definitely bring in investment and revenue to Japan. “The issue is whether they can finally get their act together to make it happen,” Bromberg said.
[via IOL Business Report]