Caesars Entertainment, which hopes to apply for a licence to operate an integrated resort in Japan in the future, has praised the Japanese government’s approach to gaming regulation. Caesars expects the country’s first casino licences to be issued in 2020.
Jan Jones Blackhurst, the company’s EVP for public policy and corporate responsibility, told TotallyGaming: “Caesars has been working in Japan for 15 years and we are excited and appreciative that the government appears poised to pass IR regulation and legislation.
“We appreciate the thoughtful process the government has undertaken to ensure the strongest regulatory environment and focus on creating resorts unique to Japanese culture.
“Assuming the legislation passes the upper house, we think the first licences might be awarded in late 2020 with first resorts opening in 2025.”
Jones Blackhurst, a former two-time mayor of Las Vegas, was reacting to news that the lower chamber of the Japanese government had approved the integrated resorts bill, despite opposition from the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan.
The progressed bill proposes residents of Japan will be charged a ¥6,000 (US$54) entrance fee, while foreign visitors enter free of charge. The bill will also restrict Japanese residents to a maximum of three casino visits per week and 10 visits per month.
Concern was expressed that the proposed legislation contains only a proportional cap on floor area dedicated to gaming but no overall limit on resort floor area, meaning – in theory – that there would be no upper limit to the size of casino.
However, Jones Blackhurst suggested that Caesars is comfortable even if a limit is imposed. “Given the size of these large entertainment resorts, we are comfortable with the limited casino floor,” she said, adding: “Our primary focus is world-class entertainment.”
It is widely anticipated that the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Japanese Diet, will vote in favour of the IR bill – although it remains to be seen whether that will happen before the current legislative session runs out in mid July.