The Probability Japan Will Become the Next Big Gambling Powerhouse is High, Meaning Every City and Town in the Country Wants to Become a Casino Destination
Following a news conference at the Japan Gaming Congress earlier this month, it is likely the country’s three biggest cities, Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama will be probable candidates for a casino license.
As a result, rural towns are not happy since a prominent reason behind lifting the casino ban was to provide an economic boost for the entire country. The smaller towns and cities have suggested going in this direction undermines Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s plans to revive rural areas since only two to three casino licenses are set to be awarded.
But the three biggest cities have been suggested as ideal locations for major operators, which is likely the reason behind why smaller regions have been forgotten. International casino companies have praised the three cities large population and proximity to airports – important factors of a successful casino. They’ve also pointed out the strong need for space so shopping complexes and restaurants can be built.
Senior Vice President of Global Gaming Development for MGM Resorts International, Ed Bowers, said these needs are non-negotiable if the casino wants to do well.
“MGM’s business model is to build large-scale destination resorts with lots of stuff that cost a lot of money,” he said.
“So it needs to be in a high-density population area, and obviously the ones to be mentioned are Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama. So we’re focused on those three.”
Although the locations are the best suited, there has been nothing to guarantee the cities want to team up with an international casino operator – they may want to opt for a local company instead.
One of the many guidelines issued for a license is for the operators and cities to team up and submit a solid proposal. Osaka has been deemed the most likely to score a license, though, with suggestions of an “Osaka Strip” on the former landfill site known as Yumeshima Island. How the infrastructure would be paid for, which is likely to be in the nine figure range, has not been outlined.
And while cities and towns want the casinos, people living in them do not with around 25 percent saying they want an integrated resort built in the country in a nationwide survey.
Japan is one of the few major Asian countries left that is yet to have land-based casinos, although online casino sites have become a popular pastime for both social players and high rollers.
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