Las Vegas and Macau are known to be the biggest gambling hubs in the world right now and have been for a number of years., South Korea, the Philippines and Singapore to a certain extent have witnessed an increase in gambling activity in recent years but are still not at the level of Las Vegas and Macau.
Japan Could Change Casino Industry Landscape
Now gaming analysts from Global Market Advisors (GMA) have predicted that Japan could become a serious competitor for casinos in Las Vegas and Macau. Japan passed a gaming bill earlier this year that lifted the ban on the casino industry and recently began the process of preparing a second bill that deals with the rules and regulations that will govern the casino industry in the country.
Gaming analysts believe that Japan will initially license two major integrated casino resorts in the country and they will most likely be located in Toyko and Osaka. Based on the performance and success of these two integrated resorts, legislators will then contemplate issuing more gaming licenses. The casino industry is expected to generate a significant amount of revenue for the government and also help boost tourism in the country as the casinos are expected to attract gamblers from Asia and other parts of the world.
GMA Believes Osaka Strip Will Generate $10.9 Billion
GMA released a report last week stating that if legislators decided to permit Yumeshima Island in Osaka to be turned into a gambling strip, it could generate as much as $10.9 billion each year and also become a major tourist attraction in the country, providing stiff completion to Macau and Las Vegas. GMA conducted research into the Japanese market and based on its research believes that creating an Osaka strip would be ideal for the Japanese casino industry and Osaka could attract as much as 47 percent of its visitors from overseas.
Tourists from China, Taiwan and South Korea regularly visit Japanese shores and an Osaka strip would further help to boost tourism from these countries. A number of international gaming operators including Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands Corp, Melco International, Hard Rock International and Caesars Entertainment have expressed interest in developing large scale casino resorts in Japan and are already campaigning for gaming licenses as they are confident of the Japanese market.
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson, chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corp has expressed interest to develop a $10 billion integrated resort in Japan that would include gaming and non-gaming facilities. The fact that gaming analysts have suggested that only two licenses could be issued during the first phase has encouraged gaming operators to try and out do the others by promising massive investment in an effort to secure a highly sought after gaming license.
Osaka Strip Could Rival Macau & Vegas
However GMA suggests that it might work better for the Japanese government if they created a gambling zone in the country, preferably in Yumeshima Island, Osaka and then issue gaming licenses to multiple gaming operators and allowed them to build the best possible casino resorts at what could be labeled as the Osaka strip.
This would be similar in many ways to the Las Vegas strip which is home to a number of popular casinos such as the Bellagio, the Venetian and the MGM Grand. The Cotai district in Macau also has a number of billion dollar casino resorts including the recently opened Wynn Palace and the Parisian Macao.
Problem Gambling Might Prevent Osaka Strip
One of the biggest concerns that legislators had when debating the possibility of lifting the ban on the Japanese casino industry was problem gambling. Opposition groups are concerned that while the casino industry could generate billions of dollars in revenue, it could also pose a serious threat as gambling addictions are bound to increase.
This is also one of the reasons why legislators are contemplating the issuance of just two licenses in the immediate future as they don’t want to rush into a full scale gambling industry without being able to measure the consequences both positive and negative. This cautionary approach may not allow for the creation of the Osaka strip with multiple casinos as it would require legislators to push the issue of problem gambling aside and thereby create a lot of controversy from anti-gambling campaigners.

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