Casinos in JapanThe ongoing question of opening casinos in Japan has been brought to the fore again recently with the hope that the gambling bill will be put to parliament during the summer. The gambling bill has cross party approval so it is believed that if it is accepted by parliament that it could become law early next year opening the way for casinos to operate in the country. This could mean that the first casinos may be constructed by the 2020 Olympic games in the country. A major component of constructing casino resorts in Japan would be the need for foreign casino operators to join forces with Japanese companies.

Several international casino groups have expressed interest in opening casinos in Japan whenever the government gives the go ahead for licences to be issued. However the Japanese government has made it clear to these overseas companies that while their experience in the area will be valued, they must partner with a Japanese group in order to be considered for a gaming licence once the necessary legislation is in place. Several of these international companies, which include the American groups Wynn Resorts Ltd, Las Vegas Sands Corp., Caesars Entertainment Corp and MGM Resorts as well as the Asian based SJM Holdings and also Melco Crown entertainment , have all shown interest in investing in any future Japanese casino industry. Given the strong signals that the foreign companies must form partnerships with local groups, several Japanese companies are showing interest too, among these are Sega Sammy Holdings and the Konami Corporation.One company that is not too happy with the need to form a partnership is Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. Sheldon Adelson has stated that he would invest whatever is necessary to gain a Japanese gaming licence but that he would prefer to operate alone. His group is a strong contender for what many believe may only be four initial Japanese gaming licences which will enable entry into what is forecasted to be a possible new hub for gambling in Asia.