The Las Vegas Sands Corp is the largest casino operator in the world owning some of the most iconic casino properties in Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore. The company’s chairman, Sheldon Adelson was recently in Japan to speak at the CLSA Ltd. Conference and took the time to outline what plans his company had for developing an integrated casino resort in Japan.
Japan has long since been on the radar of gambling operators but they were unable to make any progress because the country had a ban on gambling. That ban was lifted in December 2016 as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) were in favor of passing a gambling bill that would legalize integrated resorts (IGs) in the country.
Prime Minister Abe and his group of advisors wanted these IGs to consist of hotels, shopping malls, retail complexes, entertainment venues and casinos that would create more jobs in the country, bring in foreign investment, increase tourism and generated a significant amount of gaming taxes for the government. Although the bill received a lot of opposition from different fronts, Abe’s government was able to get it approved.
Legislators in Japan have recently come up with gaming regulations detailing the number of casinos that will initially be approved, the licensing process and fee, the locations of the casino and the gambling taxes that will be levied on gaming operators. There is a lot of competition from international gaming operators who want to be the first to get a piece of the lucrative Japanese gaming market and right at the top of the list is Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Even before the gambling legislation could be approved, Adelson had already expressed interest in developing a casino resort in Japan and stated that he would be willing to invest as much as $10 billion in setting up an IG, if his company was given a license. The 83 year old billionaire once again reiterated his promise at the conference stating that he was prepared to invest $6 billion to build an IG in Japan, which was similar to the amount that the company invested to build the iconic Marina Bay Sands casino resort in Singapore.
However Adelson also went on to say that he estimated that the investment could be a lot higher in Japan and his company may have to go up to $10 billion. Gaming analysts believe that Japanese legislators will initially provide just two casino licenses and the locations for these two IGs will most likely be between Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama. Thus the competition to secure these two casino licenses is already intense as gaming operators such as the Las Vegas Sands Corp, MGM Resorts, Genting Singapore and Wynn Resorts compete with each other by putting together attractive proposals involving massive amounts of money that will sway Japanese legislators in their favor.
Gaming analysts have said in the past that the two casino resorts in Japan could generate as much as $10 billion in gaming revenue each year and grow up to $25 billion once more IGs are licensed in Japan. Analysts believe that the Japanese casino industry has the potential to provide serious competition to Macau and turn out to be one of the most lucrative gambling markets in the world.
Sheldon Adelson highlighted the fact that the Las Vegas Sands corp is one of the most well known and established gaming operators in the world and has a strong track record of developing iconic properties such as the Marina Bay Sands and would be very interested in getting first crack at the Japanese casino industry. Should Las Vegas Sands Corp secure a casino license in Japan, Adelson will develop a casino resort that is expected to have more than 10,000 slot machines.
Adelson also emphasized that his company was also in a very good position financially to make good on the $10 billion investment in Japan. Back in December 2016, Fitch Ratings released a report stating that a number of US based gaming operators had strong financial balance sheets that would enable them to go after a casino license in Japan and allow them to spend significant amounts of money to develop one of these IGs.

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