Published On: Thu, Apr 20th, 2017

Japan has Made Casinos Legal, here is a Quick Rundown on How it Might Pan Out

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casino_02Late last year, Japan announced that casinos will be made legal. Here are a few updates on how, where, and when casinos will operate in the country.




Casinos will begin operation in the country soon after the Olympics. The Tokyo Olympics will be held in the year 2020, and after they are done, casinos will be fully operational. According to the Japan Times, 2023 is the year that is being targeted. The governor of Osaka has made a statement saying that they plan on getting a resort open there by 2024.


How big?


The plan is to not have a small gambling den with a few slot machines. The overall idea is to have massive, resort-styled casinos akin to the ones at Macau or Monte Carlo. Luxury hotels, beach resorts, shopping and conference integration is what the government and potential casino operators are looking at. The casino industry is a major draw in terms of tourism. Singapore, for example, legalized casinos a few years back and is now the world’s 3rd largest gambling center after Macau and Las Vegas. Singapore and Macau depend wholly on tourist gamblers, but Japan is a country where there is a high per capita income and a large population that is willing to gamble.


How much?


Revenues from Japanese casinos are projected to be between $5 and $25 billion a year. That is a large amount considering Macau was able to generate $28 billion last year and it is a well-established center. The forecast for Japan, even at its minimum level with only 2 operational centers is placed at between $5 and $10 billion. The estimate will only improve if three or more casinos get approved. The target $25 billion can be achieved, according to Nomura analysts, if there is a peak capacity of 10 regional and 2 urban integrated casinos.




As to who the major players will be, there are 6 of the world’s largest operators who are in front of the line. Everyone from Las Vegas Sands to MGM and Wynn has shown a lot of interest in Japan. So, one can expect the who’s who of casino operators to set up operations in Japan. Melco and MGM have said that they are willing to invest upwards of $10 billion each towards the projects. CLSA has the estimates of the urban integrated resorts at around $8 billion apiece.


Watch this space for updates on this news.

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