Gaming | ‘Osaka Strip’ may challenge Macau, Las Vegas

The Dotonbori area in Osaka

As Japan makes way for investment in resorts, consulting group Global Market Advisors believes that the construction of an “Osaka Strip” involving three or more operators could potentially rival the gaming industry in Macau and Las Vegas.

Steve Gallaway, managing partner of Global Market Advisors, noted that Japan has the potential to become one of the largest gaming markets in the world, generating up to USD24.2 billion at six different locations by 2030.

Gallaway was speaking about a number of scenarios for Investor Relations (IR) in Japan in a white paper titled “Japan Integrated Resorts,” as cited in a report by the Asia Gaming Brief.

The analyst also stressed that the “Osaka Strip” is expected to involve three or more gaming operators and will be able to compete with Las Vegas, Macau and Singapore in generating nearly USD11 billion from the district alone.

According to him, the site’s development would create “critical mass and [become] a true tourist destination.”

However, it remains unclear how the regulatory structure to be enforced in the IR’s development will constrain operators.

Brendan Bussman, director of government affairs with Global Market Advisors, remarked, “as the National Diet continues to evaluate the best structure for IR in Japan, it needs to consider the strong regulatory atmosphere that should be established.”

“The Diet needs to balance that regulatory structure with the desire of an operator to build an iconic facility that is representative of a specific site to maximize gaming and non-gaming revenue,” Bussman added.

The first bill legalizing casinos in the country was passed last year.

It is anticipated that the second bill, which contains the legislation governing IR will be passed at the end of 2017.

The next step will be “an internal process to identify the cities and prefectures that have an interest in hosting IRs”, which is estimated to be completed by the third quarter of 2018.

According to previous reports, Japan may see the opening of new casinos by 2023. With Japan opening its doors, analysts are divided over how seriously Macau operators and the local government should take these threats.

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