Daily Finance – Japanese gaming is getting everyone excited. With a summer vote pending to legalize casino building in the country, casino CEOs are already fighting over bids and locations. Neil Bluhm, the Chicago man who has built a real estate empire with casinos around the U.S. and Canada, is preparing to place his bid on the southern city of Osaka. Las Vegas Sands CEO and gaming entrepreneur Sheldon Adelson is putting his bet, a very large bet, on the capital city of Tokyo. Other companies, such as Wynn Resorts and Melco Crown are preparing their bets as well. So which company will win?
Japan already has a gambling market that includes underground gambling as well as Pachinko, an arcade-style game that players can indirectly bet on by winning prizes and selling those prizes in neighboring shops, but it currently forbids actual gambling. However, the government will vote this summer on whether to allow casinos to build in the country. Most analysts expect that this measure will pass without any issues.
This legalization will likely mean huge returns for the casinos that win bids to operate there. According to analysts at CLSA, an Asian research group, the casino industry in Japan could be worth as much as $40 billion by 2025, which would make it the second-highest revenue-earning gaming hub in the world behind Macau. This is what’s sparking the interest of companies like Las Vegas Sands, Melco Crown, and Wynn Resorts, which have all gained huge profits from Macau in the last few years.
However, profiting from this market could mean choosing the right city. The government is likely to allow bids only in Tokyo, the country’s capital, and Osaka, a tourist destination. While each city has its respective advantages, knowing which city each casino is betting on may sway an investing decision.