MGM Resorts could be branching out in the near future

MGM Resorts are one of the largest casino companies in the world, and they have what is arguably one of the finest (and oldest) casino resorts of all located in the heart of gambling, Las Vegas. Now, though, they could be set to branch out, with news that they are looking at investing as much as $10 billion on a new casino over in Japan.

Changes in Japanese law

With the gambling laws being hugely restrictive in Japan, many Japanese gamblers travel far and wide (often to Macau, or Las Vegas) to play their favourite gambling games. Why on earth would MGM Resorts want to spend that kind of cash opening up a casino in a country where gambling is illegal? It could all hinge on a debated bill in Japan, would may very well open the country up to gambling.

The bill

Known as the Promotional Integrated Resorts Bill, this is not the first bill of its kind. In fact, a number of bills have come before it, but have failed to win over the approval of the government. The Komeito Party has long since stood in the way of such a bill being passed in Japan, but with their somewhat collapse and turning fortunes in the coalition government, many believe that the bill will be revisited come winter.

The gamble

Of course, this is still a huge gamble from MGM Resorts. As we well know, any bill which is passed can be overturned rather simply in its early stages. That doesn’t seem to have put the dampers on MGM Resorts plans, with the company eager to jump on the prospect before other casino giants do, should gambling become legal in the Asian country in the near future. MGM Resorts is looking at anything from around 500 billion to 1 trillion JPY for the project, which could equate to a cost worth up to $10 billion. The resort would likely feature hotels, food and drink, shopping, and of course, gambling as well as offices and convention space.

The chances

MGM Resorts certainly want to be the first to jump on the move, but they aren’t the only casino companies interested in Japan. Las Vegas Sand has eyed up the country for a while now, and given that both companies operate resorts in Macau, they would have the muscle to open up their own resorts in the country. The chances are that even if the gambling law gets passed (and it is a very long shot at that), that only one casino would end up being built, with the two giants having to go head to head for the license to do so.

Early reports for the Japanese casino industry estimate that there could be a $40 billion cash pie ready for the companies. Despite the illegality of gambling, Japanese players who huge gamblers, and neither MGM Resorts, or Las Vegas Sands would want to miss out on a slice of that lucrative industry, which could (in theory) eventually overtake Macau as the gambling capital of the East.

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