Caesars’ Charm Offensive in Japan

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A floor at Caesars casino.

Caesars Entertainment, one of the world’s most iconic names in the casino sector may be caught between a rock and a hard place in Japan. Allegations have surfaced that the company has been paying off Japanese MPs to inveigle itself into their good graces and secure a spot for the future casino resort the Diet’s debating to open.

It has long been the wont of politicians to hobnob and flirt with businessmen, lobbyists and other people of means. However, the latest instalment of this age-old saga seems to have had a rather more disruptive effect than anticipated. According to a Japanese media outlet, Caesars Entertainment, the casino and hotel chain, has hired lobbyists to attend political fundraisers where they could get hold of MPs and convince them to root for projects developed by Caesars.

Caesars’ Charm Offensive

The allegations that surfaced pointed to what the local public interpreted as bribery. An attempt to broker power and facilitate projects that may otherwise have not happened. Ceasars has been sending representatives to fundraisers for years, the news publication showed.

Estimated 15 Japanese politicians have been sponsored this way, including some of the government’s highest rankings officials, namely Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Taro Aso, Minister of Internal Affairs Seiko Noda, and others.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has long been in favor of endorsing gambling despite the fears of many that adopting the industry on a larger scale would entail negative consequences. Fears that have been brushed off by the opposition, arguing that the creation of any gambling resorts would necessarily come hand-in-hand with a law that guarantees that social checks and balances have been kept.

The Resorts Implementation Bill – Much Heat

The Resorts Implementation Bill, as one possible translation goes, is not a minnow. Even though the projects which invite don’t seem to occupy much land nor promise to attract many gamers, many people estimate that Japan is brimming with potential. Experts forecast that the country could easily be the second-largest casino market in the world.

Why Caesars would seek to cosy up to Japanese MPs is not difficult to divine. With only thee licenses up for grabs, the initial push for getting into the market will be quite substantial, with everyone trying to get a firm foothold from the onset, if possible.

However, Caesars is also protecting its legacy. In an official statement posted by the company, it has been argued that Caesars Entertainment acted in accordance with Japanese law and never tried to hide its involvement in political fundraisers. The fact that the company has sought tete-a-tetes with Japanese MPs is also not surprising, given the limited number of available licenses.

Insofar as this goes, Caesars has done as any other gambling behemoth on Earth has done, minus the part where they kept things under wraps. However, under Japan’s Political Funds Control Law, donations from foreigners are not allowed and this is where the contention that the funds are bribes begins.

There’s merit to both arguments, but one alleged faux pas shouldn’t undo all the good the gambling bill may bring.

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