Japan looks set to join Macau and the US in the gambling hierarchy if proposed legislation to legalize gambling in the country is successful.  If the Japanese government goes ahead with the legalization process the first casino resort could be open as early as 2020; in time for the country’s hosting of the Olympics that year.

An Eye on a Piece of the $40 Million Pie

In the dollar rich gambling world of the US there is already interest in the prospects in Japan.  Neil Bluhm, billionaire property magnate, and owner of casinos in Niagara Falls, Chicago, and Pennsylvania, is keeping an eye on the city of Osaka as a possible venue for casino real estate.  Osaka is a sister city of one of his US casino bases, Chicago.  Bluhm believes that officials in the city would have a more relaxed approach to the proposals than those in the Japanese capital Tokyo.

This is not an opinion shared by fellow US casino investor Sheldon Adelson who has already said he will invest $10 billion dollars in the Japanese casino market.  He has set his sights on Tokyo for the center of this investment.  It is easy to see why, the Japanese capital has the largest metropolitan economy in the world with a GDP of $2.91 trillion.  It is also a major center of leisure and dining with more Michelin stars than any other city worldwide.  It would seem to be the perfect environment for a casino resort.

Will the Olympics Decide the Race?

Adelson is the CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp and the company believes in the validity of Tokyo as a venue.

There are considerations in favor of Osaka though.  Officials in the city are keen to attract the foreign investment, creating local jobs.  They have also indicated that the amount of land available for the resort would be three times bigger than that which Singapore’s two casino resorts occupy.  It is also likely that competition from Macau in the area would be limited as it is thought their preference would be for Tokyo.

The main issue that may inhibit Tokyo’s role in the possible casino revolution is the 2020 Olympic Games.  Officials in the city are busy planning the event and their attention is likely to be diverted.  Casino resort investment will not be their first priority when the eyes of all the world will be on the Olympics.

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