Caesars to Do Whatever It Takes to Build a “Uniquely Japanese” Casino Resort, Company Exec Says

As the Japanese government has entered what are hoped to be the last stages of discussion of the Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill, some of the world’s largest gaming and hospitality companies have been keen to shed more details about their expansion plans in the country.

Las Vegas giant Caesars Entertainment Corp., which emerged from bankruptcy last fall, has became the latest such company to provide the industry with a bit more information on what its plans include if it wins a license to operate an integrated resort with a gaming floor in Japan.

During an interview for Bloomberg TV from earlier today, Caesars President of International Development Steve Tight reiterated his company’s commitment to enter the nascent Japanese casino and integrated resort market. Mr. Tight said that Caesars is ready to invest and do whatever it takes to build a “uniquely Japanese” integrated resort, answering to a question about the company’s planned investment in the Asian country.

Las Vegas Sands, one of the biggest rivals of the gaming giant, has previously said that it was planning to spend up to $10 billion to build a resort in Japan. MGM Resorts International, another major gaming and hospitality company hailing from Las Vegas, has recently revealed a $9.2 billion investment plan. Mr. Tight said that they considered it a bit too early to provide an exact amount, but it seems that Caesars would not spare funds and effort for the purpose of developing an attractive destination.

The company’s executive further pointed out that one of the biggest challenges before all interested companies would be to educate the Japanese population about the nature of integrated resorts. According to Mr. Tight, residents of the country are a bit suspicious of the integrated resort concept as it is absolutely new to Japan. He went on to say that Caesars will do its best to explain the model and dispel the misconception that casino gambling represents the larger portion of integrated resorts, while gaming facilities actually occupy a very small part of such properties.

Bidding Process

Japan’s ruling coalition introduced the IR Implementation Bill to the Diet last month. Lawmakers now have to review it and iron out any issues that might arise over the course of discussions. The Diet’s regular session ends on June 20, but its agenda includes a number of issues that are likely to take priority and the IR bill could thus not be voted on in due time.

Mr. Tight said that while a vote on the bill might not take place before the end of the regular session, they are hopeful that this would happen by the end of 2018. The executive pointed out that lawmakers will then have to select the preferred locations for Japan’s first integrated resorts and sort out other related matters before the bidding process is launched. He said that they hope licenses would be issued by 2020.

Asked about Caesars’ preferred location, Mr. Tight revealed that they have been eying Osaka as their top choice, but have also considered Tokyo, Yokohama, and Hokkaido as potential homes to their integrated resort, in case they win a license.

The company official noted that his company will look to work closely with Japanese partners and thus develop a unique destination that will attract both gambling and non-gambling customers.

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