Legal Hurdles Ahead of Japanese Casinos Cleared

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Japan’s casinos have finally been licensed, receiving a sound support from the ruling government headed by Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe. Japan is done outlining a roadmap for the future of the segments and now foreign entitles will be competing in earnest. The list of contenders is impressive – from Las Vegas Sands Corp to MGM Resorts International, everyone is looking for a bite of the market. According to preliminary estimates, the industry could be worth as much as $25 billion, which will naturally drive the flagship industry leaders to clamor for a piece of it.

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It’s definitely a relief that legal hurdles have been finally cleared. However, the true negotiations are only about to begin, even though Caesars may have been making some headway already. Still, the talks are only about to begin. Apart from the few names that have been floated, i.e. Caesars and MGM, there ought to be more companies lined up to explore the opportunities the newly-liberated Japanese market could afford a decent bidder.

As the green light has been given, it’s likely to see companies start courting politicians and the government with their bids. The competition will be fierce as only a handful of companies may launch their land-based properties, with the current number given as three operators.

This puts anyone left out of the equation at a significant disadvantage and possibly cut off from one of the largest markets, at least in terms of pure potential. Even at a time when everyone is preparing to bid most companies like to keep a low profile because the competition will be quite fierce as it is.

The Name of the Companies

Whilst the list is not quite known, Las Vegas Sands and MGM have vowed estimated $10 billion in order to build a casino resort in the designated gambling areas in Japan, just outside Tokyo. Wynn Resorts Ltd. Is another company that has been priming its bid in order to match the needs of the country and tempt Japan into accepting its bid. However, the companies have made no official comment as of yet whether they are still on course with their plans.

Meanwhile, Hard Rock Café International Inc. has already opened its office in Hokkaido, ahead of any major breakthrough. This gives the company some foothold into the country, albeit no firm evidence has been furnished so far.

More interestingly, the game maker Sega Sammy Holdings Inc.has also signalled its interest in this new market, mostly because Sega also makes slot machines for casinos. The company also have experience running actual casinos. According to Sega, the company is seriously looking into different possibilities for getting itself involved with the imminent expansion. Konami, a rival company is also after a share. The company already has 400 gaming licenses spread all across North America, Australia, Singapore, and even South Africa where casinos aren’t as trendy as appearances may suggest.

The question remains how quickly potential operators will be able to move in and will they lose to competitors out because of indecision?

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