Japanese theme park operator Huis Ten Bosch Co Ltd is searching for a partner to develop a casino resort next to its flagship property if casinos become legal in the country.
“We’re seeking a sophisticated and elegant European-style facility next to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park,” [pictured] president Hideo Sawada said, quoted by Kyodo News, a Tokyo-based news agency. “We will lease some land to the company [that will operate the casino-resort] and receive a small portion of the earnings,” he added.
The Huis Ten Bosch theme park aims to re-create the atmosphere of a town in the Netherlands, via full-sized copies of Dutch-style buildings. It was opened in 1992.
Mr Sawada said the proposed new complex would eventually include a casino, retail, entertainment and other facilities. He noted his company would not directly operate the facilities – at least on the short-term – due to lack of know-how on gaming operations.
Huis Ten Bosch is considering allocating up to 25,000 square metres (269,098 square feet) of land for the project. The land is currently being used for parking at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park.
In a separate development, USJ Co Ltd, the operator of the Hollywood-themed entertainment park Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, says it is considering bidding for a casino licence.
The Cabinet Committee of Japan’s lower parliamentary chamber started discussions last month about a bill to legalise integrated resorts. However, the Japanese parliament is now in recess, meaning the bill can only be passed in autumn at the earliest, before the upper house debates the topic.
Casino legalisation in Japan will be a two-statute process. After an enabling bill legalising casino resorts at the conceptual level, a second piece of legislation would detail the specifics, including how they are administered and regulated.
According to media reports, there are at least six prefectural authorities vying to host casino complexes: Osaka, Tokyo, Hokkaido, Nagasaki, Miyazaki and Okinawa.
The idea of an entry levy on foreigners was mentioned during a two-hour discussion of the enabling bill by the Cabinet Committee of Japan’s lower house of parliament in late June, according to notes of the meeting obtained by GGRAsia.
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DS Kim, Jeremy An and Christine Wang
Analysts at brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd