Hard Rock Joins International Interested In Japanese Gaming Market
It appears highly likely that Japan could legalize the gambling before the end of the year. There have been several international casino operators who have expressed their interest to explore the potential Japanese gaming market. Hard Rock International has become the latest gaming operator who has committed to investing heavily into Japan’s potential casino industry.
Chief Executive Officer of Hard Rock Cafe International Inc. Hamish Dodds recently announced that the company is looking for partners with whom they could collaborate to apply for casino license in the country. He stated that the company was ready to make a major investment in Japan.
In a statement Dodds said,
We can either play a lead role or a partnership role. We really hope that we can collaborate with Japanese partners and institutions.
The U.S-based casino, hotel and café chain is the latest in the list of international casino operators who have expressed interest in investing in Japan’s gambling industry. Las Vegas Sands Corp and MGM Resorts International have also expressed interest in developing billion dollar integrated resorts in the country.
The possibility of Japan legalizing gambling has been discussed for several years but it is only now after the recent elections that legislative support for the gaming bill has become strong enough. In 2015, a bill titled Integrated Resorts Promotion Bill failed to get approval after legislators raised concerns about casinos increasing gambling addiction in the country.
Aaron Fischer, an analyst at brokerage firm CLSA Ltd pointed out that Japan is considered to be the Holy Grail of gaming markets and has potential to be bigger than even Macau. He has estimated the country’s casino revenue to be in the range of $10 billion to $40 billion depending on the number of resorts that come up. Macau generated revenue of nearly $30 billion in 2015.
According to local media, the lower house of the country’s parliament is likely to debate the new bill on Nov. 9. A recent boom in tourism in Japan is adding to optimism about casinos in the country. Betting is already popular in Japan as seen by the numerous pachinko parlors spread across the country that offer betting on video games.
Dodds said that he expects the legislative bill to clear the Japanese parliament this year. He noted that there was far more discussion within commercial sector this year on the bill and its likely passage. According to Dodds the Japanese casino industry could be worth over $10 billion.
Hard Rock was among the several international casino operators who had attended an integrated resorts and gaming conference held recently in Tokyo where the companies presented their plans for the country in case the bill is approved.
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