Back in July, the Japanese government voted to allow casinos inside four different cities. Since that time, officials in these cities have been working to decide which companies will operate the casinos. Licensing for the first casino in Osaka is coming in 2020.
It’s a little later than some were hoping, but the news is exciting nonetheless. Legalized casinos in Japan will generate massive amounts of revenue. So which company is most likely to run this casino?
With a population of 126 million, Japan is likely to become one of the next big gambling destinations in Asia. Many countries here including the Philippines and Cambodia are already profiting from their land-based casino operations. With so much money on the line, it’s no surprise that some of the top gambling companies in the world are looking to break into this market.
MGM Resorts, in particular, is working hard to enter Japan. They’ve been speaking with government officials for months now. They were even granted a sponsorship for the recent MLB Opening Series taking place in Tokyo.
Companies such as Las Vegas Sands are trying to operate the first casino here, yet it seems likely that MGM will earn the bid. The government is still making its decision. So why are many predicting that the first casino in Osaka will open next year?
MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO, Jim Murren, recently told Bloomberg Daybreak that there are many advantages to opening the first casino in Osaka. This city already has support from the local government and a number of different businesses. It’s also a popular tourist destination and could bring in missions of gamblers from around the country and abroad.
Murren is confident that a date for the first casino construction should be announced soon.
“We’re going to know probably in the next three or four months what the timing is going to be for Osaka,” he said. “The city government will present an RFP. It will be very competitive. MGM is going to be one of the bidders for that RFP, and I think they will make a decision [on preferred partners] about this time next year.”
Japan wants casino resorts, not just establishments offering casino gaming options. Construction plans will include a number of non-gambling activities. The first Japanese casino won’t begin operating here until around 2024.
It’s clear that Japan is working to open its land-based gambling market, yet the government has shown no signs of pushing for legalized online gambling. Japan is very strict against all forms of iGaming, despite many people here playing through different internet gaming sites based in Europe.
Casino revenue is sure to make the government reconsider their current stance towards online gambling. With regulation, this could earn the government millions more every month. The success of these casinos will give a much better picture of what’s in store for the future.
Do you think MGM Resorts will open the first casino in Osaka? Will the Japanese government ever begin regulating the internet gambling industry? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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