Australian James Packer Wants to Build Casino in Tokyo in Time for 2020 Olympics – Report
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | April 7, 2014 12:03 PM EST
James Packer's Asian gaming joint-venture Melco Crown wants to build a casino in Tokyo in time for the 2020 Olympics, according to The Australian.
A student (R) practices distributing chips during a gaming lesson at a mock casino run by the Macao Polytechnic Institute (MPI) Gaming Teaching and Research Centre in Macau March 6, 2014. Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd look best placed to benefit from the next phase of Macau's development as the world's gambling capital adds eight more mega-casinos by 2017. Analysts estimate new casinos opening in 2015-2017 will require 12,600 new dealers, yet only about 700 are available per year. Macau laws dictate only locals can work as dealers, and the government is under pressure from residents who regularly take to the streets to ensure these restrictions remain.Picture taken March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
Other casino giants vying for Japan's approval for the right to build and operate casinos include Wynns and Las Vegas Sands, among others. Japan, to boost its tourism and economy, intends to allow integrated casino resorts in regional cities including Tokyo and Osaka.
"Japan is the biggest single opportunity that we are looking at in terms of an international expansion and growth story, just because of the sophistication of the market, the appeal of the overall area,'' Mr Nisbet told The Australia.
James Packer, Crown's top boss, is part of the business delegation that will accompany Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on his Japan visit.
The Tokyo casino complex is pegged to be worth US$5 billion when built in time for the 2020 Olympics. It is expected to churn out $40 billion a year for Melco Crown.
With 120 million people, Japan has long been regarded as the casino world's El Dorado.
"Everybody has reached for another gear, whether it be the political bodies ... or prospective international companies that are interested in coming into Japan," Mr Nisbet said.
"There's been this moment in time where the Olympics has crystallised thinking around what's the best way to capitalise on Japan being on the world stage and really driving the next stage of growth that the Abe government is looking to do to reinvigorate the Japanese economy."
Mr Nisbet said Melco Crown was in talks with several Japanese corporations. The company is trying to encourage them to join into the fray so as to have a local partner that can help gain the government's trust and eventually approve their bid. Some of these Japanese corporations are leading multinational firms with operations in Australia.
"We think a local partner is a key ingredient. There have been meetings with various companies in Japan. It's fair to say nothing has solidified yet,'' he said.
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