With the Japanese Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill close to being passed, casino operators from around the world are lining up to become one of the first three companies to open an integrated resort in the country.
The passing of the IR Bill in the country, which will finally open the doors of Japan to the gambling industry, has made significant progress in recent weeks and the House of Representatives passed a bill last week that details gambling addiction anti-measures. The passing of the anti-gambling addiction bill is crucial to the development of the IR Bill, since it was one of the requirements that was needed to be drafted before the IR legislation moves forward.
The passing of the gambling addiction anti-measures shows that the Japanese lawmakers are serious about pushing for the IR Bill this year. In fact, members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are considering to extend the current Diet session beyond June 20 to accommodate deliberation of a number of bills, including the IR Implementation Bill.
The developments on the IR Implementation Bill come after the LDP and its coalition partner Komeito settled on the specifics of the incoming gambling industry. According to their deliberations last month, there will be a total of 3 resort casinos that can be first licensed in Japan, with a second round of approvals to come 7 years after.
Locals will be strictly discouraged from playing in the casinos, their entries capped at three times a week and 10 times a month. They will also be required to pay a ¥6,000 (US$56) entry fee to walk in to the casinos. Casino floor space is capped at 3 percent of the total resort, and companies will be paying a flat 30 percent tax rate.
Industry Bullish About Japanese Casino Market
Despite the tight restrictions on the gambling market in Japan, MGM Resorts International is bullish about the potential of the market. MGM Resorts is one of the many casino operators who are eager to obtain a license and set up operations in Japan. MGM CEO James Murren, is aware that MGM will face stiff competition from the likes of Las Vegas Sands Corp, Melco International and the Genting Group as they bid to win the first three licenses.
Singapore has just two casino operators in the country and with Japan planning to license three operators, it is just a matter of time before Japan surpasses the Singapore casino market.
In a statement, Murren said, “Companies and municipalities that have been silent up until now would start moving. Three resorts would generate billions of dollars, making the market vastly larger than Singapore. But I do not want to get ahead of big presumptions to assume that the Implementation Bill is passed until it is. I am still 56 and will be patient for years to come.”
US Investment Bank Morgan Stanley echoes Murren’s predictions and said last month that the value of the Japanese casino market will be around $20 billion. If Japan were to accomplish this feat, this would make the country the second biggest gaming market in the world and pose a challenge to Macau – the biggest gambling hub in the world.
MGM Confident Of Entering Japanese Market
MGM Resorts has been one of the multinational companies that have supported the Japanese casino industry ever since talks of integrated resorts started. MGM was quick to congratulate the National Diet when they first passed the IR Promotion Bill in 2016, and asserted early on that the company is “well-prepared to pursue future expansion efforts.” The company has also provided Japan with white papers and market research on the positive impact of casino resorts in the country, and academic research on preventing problem gambling.
In the first quarter of 2017, MGM began boosting its Japanese operations by expanding its Tokyo office, hiring new staffers, and putting in place Tokyo-based staff to focus on market research and building connections with local companies.
Later last year, Murren began aggressively promoting MGM as the perfect company to be awarded one of the very first licenses. During his presentation at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2017 Japan Conference he said that MGM is ready to put in $10 million to open an integrated resort in Japan by 2025.
 

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For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.