Seems like Melco Crown are deadly serious about a potential Tokyo casino, after their co-chairman Lawrence Ho said they were prepared to spend an eye-watering $5 Billion on the project. That’s massive money from the Macau based casino operator, and shows that land-based casinos are still willing to spend big in the age of the mobile casino.
Japan is a special case, though. With the Olympics due in 2020, Japanese gambling laws are due to the relaxed to allow for the building of a huge casino resort, either in the capital, Tokyo, or in Osaka. Considering a former government official recently said: “operating a casino in Tokyo would be like buying a lottery ticket that is already a winner,” it’s no surprise there is a huge amount of competition for a license.
Whatever company wins the tender – remember, the government are still yet to amend the gambling laws – they will likely look to take advantage of the rich culture and heritage within Japan to produce a resort that doesn’t have to rely on gambling money to survive. Indeed, after looking across to Macau, and dwindling non-Chinese gamblers, Japan will likely look to use gambling as the secondary income stream rather than primary.
While Macau may have reached record visitor numbers and record spend, closer inspection of the figures reveals the highest proportion of visitors from the Chinese mainland since these records began. On top of this, visitor numbers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia or Japan all fell.
The new Japanese super casino, when it arrives, will be the biggest gambling news story of the year. With the Asian market currently the region of choice for new casinos – the new gambling zone in Far East Russia being a case in point – there is a fear that the build could impact negatively on a jurisdiction like Singapore. With a Tokyo casino potentially worth $10-$15 Billion yearly, it’s sure to go ahead, though.