Philippines-based Bloomberry Resorts Corp confirmed in a Tuesday filing that it is considering the “expansion of its integrated resort and gaming business” to Japan if casino gambling is legalised there. The company added that it will have to find local partners if it decides to bid for a casino licence in Japan.
“This possible expansion in Japan is part of the corporation’s ordinary course of business in searching for business opportunities in the Philippines and abroad,” Bloomberry said in the filing to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Japan’s parliament – also known as the Diet – is set to legalise casinos on Wednesday (December 14), after an enabling bill passed through an upper house committee on Tuesday evening.
In Tuesday’s filing, Bloomberry said Japan is a “very attractive … market but it will require a huge investment”. “So if we go for a licence, we would have to tie up with a large Japanese group or company or several Japanese companies,” the firm added.
It is yet unknown if foreign casino operators will have to find local partners in order to be able to bid for a casino licence in Japan, as those details will be included in a second piece of legislation.
Casino legalisation in Japan will be a two-statute process. After the enabling bill legalising casino resorts at the conceptual level, a second piece of legislation – known as the implementation bill – would detail the specifics: how casinos are administered and regulated; the taxation regime to be applied to them; their location; and the number of licences to be issued.
Several international gaming operators have been mulling investments in Japan if casino gambling is legalised there. MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands Corp and Genting Singapore Plc are among the operators that have expressed interest.
If the casino enabling bill is enacted, drafting the regulations that would govern the gaming market in Japan could take less time than expected.
“Previously, regulations required a minimum of a 12- to 24-month gap between the introduction and implementation bills. However, since the draft casino implementation bill is already under discussion and being completed by a task force, it is possible to shrink the timeline to as short as six months,” said Morgan Stanley analysts in a note last week.
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”If it makes business sense, [Las Vegas] Sands will for sure be back. They did not leave Japan… forever”
Managing director of Bay City Ventures Ltd, a Japan-based marketing consultancy.