Rob Rankin, recently named Chairman of Crown Resorts Limited, has been investing significant time in Japan this summer meeting personally with political officials in a strong show of dedication and support. The intent is to help expedite the legalization of gambling in their country. Crown’s previous Chairman and current Executive Director, billionaire James Packer, had been lobbying politicians there for many years prior.
CLSA, an independent research-driven investment brokerage, predicts that Japan could become the second largest gambling center in Asia, with annual revenue estimates of $40 billion. Crown’s efforts include promoting the benefits of integrated resorts as well as committing long-term to their investment.
Competition for the Japanese gambling market will be stiff. Sands head Sheldon Adelson perceives his company will win any bids for the premium licenses. Yet, MGM Resorts, Genting, Wynn, Galaxy and other major casino players are also maneuvering for position in the anticipation of legalization.
Yet despite all efforts by the interested parties – Japan recently shelved a bill introduced earlier in the year for legislative consideration, and a recent note investment bank Nomura suggests submission and debate of any Japanese bills specific to gambling may not be probable for at least another twelve months.