Japanese gaming company Konami Corp is establishing corporate structures to enable investment in casinos in Japan, in anticipation that such venues will be legalised there.
The company announced today it is setting up a subsidiary – Konami Gaming Japan Corp – to invest as and when a domestic casino sector is permitted.
Konami is the latest gaming company closing in on Japan. Genting Singapore Plc, the developer and owner of the Resorts World Sentosa casino resort in Singapore, has just set up several wholly owned subsidiaries in Japan also eyeing a potential opening of that market.
The possibility of legalising casinos in Japan has attracted the interest of global operators, but foreign companies are expected to have to partner with local companies in order to realise investment in the country. Several Japanese companies besides Konami are interested in investing in Japanese casino operations. They include Sega Sammy Holdings Inc and Dynam Japan Holdings Co Ltd. All three companies are already involved in Japan’s pachinko industry either as equipment suppliers or parlour operators.
The prospect of legalising casinos is fuelling a lively debate in Japan and much of that discussion is about the timing of the initial enabling bill. Japanese lawmakers supporting the bill and a special adviser to the prime minister said earlier this month it would be tough to pass the law before the end of the current parliament session, which ends on June 22. That may jeopardise any chance of casino resorts being ready at or shortly after the Summer Olympics due in Tokyo in 2020.
Broker CLSA Ltd estimates the Japanese gaming market could be worth US$40 billion per year.
Konami is already engaged in the gaming industry as a casino equipment supplier, through subsidiaries Konami Gaming Inc, based in the United States, and Konami Australia Pty Ltd, based in Australia.
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