Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, Yasutoshi Nishimura, is one of several Japanese officials and lawmakers that will address delegates today (Thursday), the first day of the two-day Japan Gaming Congress in Tokyo (pictured).
Koichi Hagiuda, the acting secretary general of the largest governing grouping, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will also speak.
The gathering will discuss topics related to Japan’s nascent casino industry, which some investment analysts say could move nearer to realisation with the possible passage this year of the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill.
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.
The Japan Gaming Congress is being held at a time of some political uncertainty in Japan, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently faring poorly in opinion polls, and resistance in some quarters of the Japanese public to the idea of the proliferation of gambling – in the form of casino games – being available to domestic players as well as foreign visitors. Pastimes involving wagering – including pachinko – have long had something of a hazy status under Japanese regulation.
The country’s government has said the move is to boost inbound tourism by foreign visitors.
Representatives from at least five local governments interested in hosting a casino resort – Tomakomai City; Kushiro City; Hokkaido Prefecture; Wakayama Prefecture; and Nagasaki Prefecture – are due to attend the conference at the Conrad Tokyo. The event has been organised by U.K.-based Clarion Events Ltd.
Foreign companies that are suitors for one of the likely three initial Japanese casino licences will also have senior representatives at the conference. They include: Steve Tight, president of international development, Caesars Entertainment Corp; Michael Mecca, a director and president of Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd; Ed Tracy, chief executive and president Asia for Hard Rock International; Geoffrey Davis, representative director and CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Japan Ltd; Ed Bowers, CEO, MGM Resorts Japan LLC; and Mario Kontomerkos, president and CEO of Mohegan Gaming Entertainment.
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"We like Japan. We like all areas…but it is a matter of what the local government and the local people really want"
Ted Chan Ying Tat
Chief operating officer of Galaxy Entertainment Japan