The chairman and founder of global casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) Sheldon Adelson made a short visit to Japan recently.
The 84 year old billionaire made visits to Tokyo and Osaka last week in order to get update on the current situation regarding Japan’s casino legalization process.
In a statement Ron Reese, senior vice president, public relations for Las Vegas Sand said,
Mr Adelson was in Japan (Tokyo and Osaka) to get an update on the situation there and offer LVS’s support in any fashion that might be helpful to the process overall, especially given his well-documented leadership in the MICE industry
MICE refers to meetings, incentives, conferences and events segment which is a key focus for the company in the markets of Macau and Singapore. Japan legalized gambling in December 2016 but a second legislation containing detailed regulations for the casino industry is still under development. The second bill named the IR Implementation Bill will include key regulatory provisions such as the locations, taxation rate and the number of casino licenses that will be issued in the first round.
Las Vegas Sands has been named as one of the top contenders for a license as per a Morningstar report, primarily due to its successful track record in developing and operating gaming properties worldwide. Another operator said to be preferred is MGM Resorts International.
The fact that Sheldon Adelson took the time to fly to Japan and meet with top executives shows just how much LVS wants to establish its presence in the Japanese market. The casino industry is expected to boost Japan’s economy and also give its tourism industry a boost.
According to details revealed so far, a bidding process will be held to determine who gets the casino licenses.
Global Market Advisors LLC stated in a report released earlier this year that a first round of request for proposals will be held for three integrated resorts followed by a second round featuring the shortlisted firms. Some media reports have however stated that only two urban and two regional licenses will be issued. Local governments are reportedly working with casino operators to develop proposals that will be submitted to the central government for the bidding process.
In terms of casino locations, analysts have speculated that Tokyo could be omitted due to lack of clear commitment from the local government, challenges in finding a site location and the coming 2020 Summer Olympics