Caesars Eyes Japan Expansion with Two Casino Resort Plans

Major hotel and casino operator Caesars Entertainment Corp. has presented two plans for the development of integrated resorts in two Japanese cities. The company revealed earlier this year that it would look to extend its global footprint to the Pacific Ocean island nation.

Last month, Caesars’ main operating unit finally exited bankruptcy protection after more than two and a half years. The major operator said previously that geographical expansion would take an important role in its post-bankruptcy growth strategy. Aside from Japan, the company also eyes expansion in Canada and Brazil.

During a recent visit to Japan, Caesars’ Executive Vice President Jan Jones Blackhurst revealed that the operator is particularly interested in building an integrated resort either in Osaka or in Tomakomai. Similarly to other casino executives, Ms. Blackhurst said she believes Japan has the potential to turn into a major gambling destination. She further noted that the country actually offers better access to popular tourist destinations than Las Vegas, for example, which is located in a Nevada desert area.

Caesars is one of a number of major international casino operators to have expressed interest in expanding into Japan’s nascent casino market. The company is ready to invest between $5-$10 billionin the construction of an integrated resort in the country. Ms. Blackhurst said during her recent visit that Caesars will manage the resort’s operations, but will leave its construction to local firms.

As mentioned above, the operator presented plans for two integrated resorts in two Japanese cities. The Osaka project will be focused on entertainment and wellness with different relevant facilities.

In Tomakomai, the company submitted a plan with the resort’s full design. If it receives the necessary approval to operate in the country and to build its property in that particular city, Caesars will opt for different facilities that will represent Japan’s character.

Both projects will aim to introduce different cultural aspects, including national cuisine and traditions, to international visitors.

As for the gambling options on property, Ms. Blackhurst said that the casino floor will occupy 5% of the whole resort’s area, no matter whether it is built in Osaka or Tomakomai. The rest will be left for different entertainment, dining retail, and conference facilities.

According to Ms. Blackhurst, the construction of casino resorts in the country could boost its tourism just as it did in Las Vegas where the number of visitors has increased to 45 million at present from 15 million back in the 1980s. Here it is interesting to note that the now casino official was Mayor of Las Vegas in the period between 1991 and 1999.

Ms. Blackhurst said that resorts should be built and designed in a manner that will keep visitors on property for as long as possible and this can be achieved by offering them diverse entertainment options.

Japan legalized casino gambling late last year. However, the country’s government needs to build the regulatory framework under which the industry and its stakeholders will be regulated. It is believed that an implementation bill that will introduce the necessary regulatory tools and rules will be voted by the Diet during its 2018 legislative session. According to analysts first resorts will not open doors in the country before 2022 or even 2023.

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