Top executives of two casino operators that have shown interest in bidding for a gaming licence in Japan have welcomed the proposed regulatory framework for the establishment of a casino industry in the country, according to a report from the Japan Times newspaper.
The Japanese government endorsed on Friday the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill, which now needs to be voted by the Diet (pictured), the country’s parliament.
“We haven’t seen anything in the Japanese casino legislation that isn’t manageable,” the newspaper quoted Geoffrey Davis, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, as saying.
Melco Resorts has declared itself a contender for a Japan casino licence. The firm’s chairman and chief executive Lawrence Ho Yau Lung has said that if Melco Resorts were to win a Japan licence, the firm would move its headquarters to that country.
The IR Implementation Bill proposes an initial cap of three casino resorts nationwide, and a fixed tax rate of 30 percent on any casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by that country’s proposed gaming resorts. It sets a JPY6,000 (US$55) casino entry fee for locals for 24-hour access, and limits casino visits by Japanese to three times a week and 10 times per month in aggregate.
Ed Bowers, senior vice president of global gaming development at MGM Resorts International, told the Japan Times he was comfortable with the bill that was approved by the government on Friday. Mr Bowers, who is also chief executive of MGM Resorts Japan LLC, said however that it was important to think about the long-term financial benefits of casino resorts to the local economy when deciding the initial investment structure.
“The more that is invested in infrastructure, the less that can be invested in the integrated resort,” the executive was quoted as saying.
The casino executives were speaking on Friday on the sidelines of a trade show in Osaka, a prefecture that has shown interest in hosting a casino resort.
Osaka governor Ichiro Matsui welcomed the national government’s approval of the gaming regulatory framework. “[About 10 years ago, we began discussing] the need to strengthen Osaka’s tourism sector by introducing integrated resorts. Everybody said then it couldn’t happen and there was a lot of opposition, especially in the media, to our idea,” Mr Matsui told the Japan Times.
The Osaka governor said last week that a casino resort could open in the Japanese prefecture by 2023, if the country’s parliament was quick to approve the IR Implementation Bill.
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