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What impact will Japanese casinos have on Las Vegas?

Last edit: jucifers on Tuesday, 6th December 2016 12:56 pm
Last response by StudiodeKadent 8th December 8:24pm

Japan has taken the first step to legalizing casinos: http://dmckee.lvablog.com/?p=19187#more-19187

What impact will the new Japanese casinos have on casino development in Las Vegas? Will Las Vegas projects be put on the backburner? Will Wynn make peace with Okada, if he needs a Japanese partner?

Thoughts?

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 vespajet responded on Wednesday, 7th December 2016

I'm thinking it's going to impact Macau more than Las Vegas. You also have to wonder about the potential of the Yakuza having some sort of involvement in them, and that could scare off any US gaming operators out of fear of it affecting their operations back home. Anywhere there is gambling, there will always be the whisper of organized crime. There are people that still think that the casinos in Las Vegas are owned by the Mafia, so it's a pretty hard reputation to shake.

 StudiodeKadent responded on Thursday, 8th December 2016

It'll impact Macau more than Vegas, and it might accelerate the pace at which nations around Asia legalize casinos since intra-Asia travel is relatively inexpensive these days.

Asian nations want to keep "their" high-rollers in their own nations (they want to retain taxpayer revenue rather than see it get 'exported' to foreign jurisdictions) after all.

I think the system being proposed is that residents of each prefecture have to decide whether or not they'll permit casinos. Obviously the tourist-heavy areas of Tokyo Bay and Osaka will be the most lucrative locations.

Who'll get licenses? Well surely Kazuo Okada will get one (and given how Japan loves cronyism I'd suspect he'd get a prime Tokyo location). I'm tempted to suggest that the Japanese government might not welcome a Wynn proposal, due to the bust-up with Kaz.

Obviously the Japanese government will want spectacular destination megaresorts, perhaps themed. Or perhaps there will be a split, with themed/mass market places near the more tourist-trap/family-friendly areas, and the more upscale/sophisticated/high-end places being located perhaps closer to Tokyo's urban core.

MICE is another issue too; I'd suspect developers with a substantial MICE focus would prefer a Tokyo-area location due to Haneda and Narita airports.

If I had to guess, I'd suggest there would probably be one Osaka megaresort (one mostly mass-market-focused - its local monopoly might help counterbalance the fact Osaka is a substantially smaller market than Tokyo), and three Tokyo-region megaresorts (one in a tourist trap area maybe, the other two more high-end and urban-location).

The Osaka region? Sands wouldn't really be interested since they are MICE-focused and Tokyo has more business travel and international connections. If Caesars can get the capital for it, they may be interested in using some of their tacky Vegas DNA there. MGM would clearly prefer Tokyo but would probably take Osaka over no casino in Japan too.

The Tokyo region? Okada would get one of those resorts (probably one of the higher-end-focused ones). MGM or Caesars may be interested in doing a more touristy/mass market resort (transplanted Vegas DNA) there, but I could see MGM push for a more high-end focus too (they could always build a single development with multiple hotels under differently-positioned brands).

Melco Crown may be interested also - with City Of Dreams in Macau and Manila they've got a concept which could easily work in the Japan market and focus on the upscale and business-travel markets.