Global resort and casino giant MGM Resorts International is also keen to hop on the movement to legalize gambling in Japan, especially as industry experts claim that Japan’s casino market could be bigger than current gambling paradise Macau, this revealed by MGM chief executive James Murren. Murren, along with executives from rivals Las Vegas Sands and Melco Crown Entertainment, is currently in Tokyo to help push the passage of a bill to end the ban on casinos in the current session of Japan’s parliament that ends on June 22.
“Time is of the essence,” Murren said. “There seems to be a very strong political will to move this forward and who knows what that environment will be a year or two from now,” he added positively. Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and a number of business leaders have continued to promote casinos as one of the main tourism and profit-boosting add-ons to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. And the casino executives see the current parliament session as the last chance for passage of the casino bill which will allow the investors to come in and build the resort facilities in time to open when the Olympic Games roll in. Murren and other wealthy investors, including Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson, and operators of Melco casinos Lawrence Ho and James Packer, have indicated that they are prepared to spend billions of dollars on gambling resorts in Japan.
“The powers-that-be in Japan have decided that the one-two punch of the Olympics and the opening of integrated resorts in 2020 would provide a boost to the country’s profile and we would agree,” said Grant Govertsen, an analyst at the Union Gaming Group. Leaders of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s LDP have also seemingly given their agreement to the argument that casinos and hotels can provide an economic boost as the country draws tourists to Tokyo for the Olympics. Abe himself is looking for ways to push for Japan’s economic recovery, and it seems that ending the ban on casinos in this session of parliament can be the boost he is looking for.
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