Japanese Casino Published: July 2, 2014

Rumours are abound the past few months, as there is a very strong possibility that Japan could be opening up their very first casino resort. Two seems to be the number of the day with this story, as there are two Japanese cities vying to be the first to open a casino in the country, and two billionaire American tycoons are vying for the chance to open the maiden casino, too.

Tokyo and Osaka are the two possible venues for Japan’s very first casino. With casinos already operating out of Hong Kong and Macao in the region, Japan is seen by many as a goldmine. An untapped resource if you will, that is ripe for the picking. The move comes as recent changes in Japanese gambling laws have made the possibility a serious reality. Although nobody is predicting that Japan will be able to take on the likes of Las Vegas or Macao; many are speculating that with the right formula, it could overtake Hong Kong as the third most popular gambling resort.

But isn’t this just speculation? The Japanese are already saying that they cannot open a land-based, brick and mortar casino until 2020 at the earliest. This would curiously happen to coincide with the launch of the Olympic Games, which are in Tokyo that particular year. Speculation it may be, but when you see the players involved, things take a sharp turn.

Neil Bluhm is aiming for an Osaka launch. Bluhm has $2.6 billion at his disposal (according to Forbes), and prefers Osaka as the local government there is fully on-board. It is also twined with Chicago, where Mr Bluhm already owns several casinos.

His battle will be against Sheldon Adelson, a name most casino gamers will be more than familiar with. Adelson has around $39 billion to spend, and he has already said that he could see himself investing as much as $10 billion in the project. Adelson though, wants the project to commence in Tokyo. His reasons are that with a population of 13.2 million people, and millions of tourists every year, Tokyo would have the clientele base.

Of course, it could just be that both of these casinos are developed. However, with the sheer amount of money that Adelson has to put forward, his claim that his is the highest possible offer that anyone can place, may just turn out to be true.

One small drawback for Mr Bluhm, is that the projected costs of such a new casino resort are rumoured to be around $5 billion, which is substantially more than he appears to have access to. It would not be unexpected that a consortium attempt to join him in creating the casino, although as we’ve mentioned, the local government may be keen to get in on the act, too. Tokyo as well, may not be too interested in a casino, as they eagerly look forward to hosting the Olympic Games.

So far, both offers are on the table. Over the next few months, things should become a lot clearer as to which, (if not both) casino will be first to appear in Japan.

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