Macau, also known as “Asian Gambling Mecca,” was a haven for Asian tourists who enjoyed gambling and various casino games. However, the situation might be changing since Japan decided to legalize casino gaming. 

New integrated resort in Osaka:

Legalizing the Japanese market will possibly have a negative impact on Macau, as well as the other regional casino centers, since tourists from Japan will reduce their gambling excursions to Macau. 

Fumio Kishida, the Prime Minister of Japan, revealed major news related to the new gambling scene. The building of an integrated resort in Osaka has been approved by the Japanese government. The integrated resort will be built by MGM Resorts International and a local company named Orix.

Positive impact on the gambling industry:

Ryan Hong-Wai Ho, Lecturer at the Centre for Gaming and Tourism Studies at Macao Polytechnic University, doesn’t agree with the claims that this will negatively affect the Macau gambling scene. He thinks that the development of new casinos will positively impact the global gambling industry in many ways.

Ho said: “Japanese and Korean tourists are an important source of customers for casinos in the Asia-Pacific region, and the opening of a casino in Osaka may provide the opportunity to attract [more] customers from these neighboring regions. From another perspective, the emerging gaming jurisdictions such as Japan and Thailand will mean a great demand for talent with practical gaming management experience, as was the case with the liberalization of Macau’s gaming industry.”

U Io Hung, the President of the Macau Professional Association of Gaming Promoters, thinks that the Osaka market will be a great competitor to the Macau market, with its already developed tourism. Many tourists from mainland China already visit Osaka, and with the development of the gaming industry in the city, that number will increase. The airport in Osaka also should be taken into consideration: it possesses more routes than the one in Macau. Also, visits to Macau are often short, while people stay longer in Osaka.

Increasing popularity as an urgent matter:

On top of all of that, Macau’s gambling market is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and it still depends on the mainland market. The important step towards the popularization of the market should be finding ways to increase the popularity of Macau’s gambling scene to foreign tourists. Gaming operators from Macau and the government have to join forces to find a solution if they want to stay on top after Osaka’s casinos start operating.

It’s not a surprise that MGM Resorts decided to operate in Osaka since Japanese tax rates are 30% lower than the ones in Macau. The concessionaires in Macau have to pay about 40% of GGR to the state.

But, in any case, Macau has a few remaining golden years ahead since the opening of the first Osaka casino is currently scheduled for 2029.