Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International are scouting sites for casinos in Japan as 2020 Tokyo Olympics
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Sands to MGM Scout Casino Sites in Japan as Tokyo Gets Olympics
Date: Sep 8, 2013 8:23 PM PT
Source: Bloomberg – By Jacob Adelman & Yuki Yamaguchi
Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International are scouting sites for casinos in Japan as Tokyo’s selection to host the 2020 Olympics boosts confidence a law legalizing gambling resorts in the capital will pass.
The International Olympic Committee’s decision fueled speculation Japan will approve casino gambling since the development would add hotel capacity and entertainment venues that could be used during the games. Casinos would also add jobs and draw about $10 billion in sales to bolster the economy.
Tokyo’s potential as a gambling market is also drawing the interest of Caesars Entertainment Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd, Genting Bhd. and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. The push comes two years after casino legislation aimed at generating revenue to help rebuild after the 2011 tsunami faltered.
“We are starting to think through designs and master plans and partners we think would be most appropriate and really starting to invest more heavily in this effort,” Steven Tight, president for international development for Las Vegas-based Caesars, said in an e-mail. He declined to quantify the company’s investment or name potential partners.
Among the potential local partners are trading companies such as Mitsui & Co., Mitsubishi Corp. and Itochu Corp. and gaming machine makers Sega Sammy Holdings Inc. and Konami Corp. The trading companies have project-finance experience and real estate development connections, while the game makers have helped develop casino projects and technology outside of Japan.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Support
Preparation for the Games in Tokyo adds to expectations for casinos that had already been rising after Shinzo Abe, whose Liberal Democratic Party is viewed as favoring legalization, became prime minister in December.
“What you’ve seen since the Abe administration has come in is they have put strong leadership on these issues,” George Tanasijevich, chief executive officer of Sands’ Singapore operation, said by e-mail last week. “I feel quite optimistic about it.”
The Olympic Games themselves would have an economic impact of about 2.96 trillion yen and create 150,000 jobs for Japan, according to an estimate from the Tokyo 2020 bid committee in June 2012.
Casinos would generate about $10 billion a year when a second large-scale resort in Osaka is included, Defibaugh and Fischer of CLSA estimate. Adding revenue from smaller gambling facilities in other cities could push Japan past Nevada to become the world’s largest gambling hub after Macau.
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