Jones thinks the Tokyo area can support two casinos with an USD 8 billion project in Tokyo generating USD 5.2 billion in gaming revenue and a somewhat smaller casino across Tokyo Bay in Yokohama generating USD 4.7 billion.
A USD 6 billion Osaka project could generate USD 3.8 billion and large regional casinos in Hokkaido and Kyushu could generate USD 1.8 billion each, Jones estimates. MGM Resorts, he notes, has expressed interest in Hokkaido.
And, while Jones expects Japan to legalise casinos this year, he has some cautions on the market: tourism has not met the government’s goal of 10 million a year, which compares to its 2016 goal of 18 million and 2020 goal of 25 million; Singapore comparisons, so often made, need to consider that Singapore draws many more tourists at 15 million; Japan’s population is expected to shrink from 128 million today to 97 million in 2020; Japanese casinos would take away about one-third of Korea’s casino business, which might prompt Korea to let its citizens play in homeland casinos, thus significantly harming Japan’s potential.
Jones doesn’t pick likely casino license winners if gaming is legalised, but he points out that Las Vegas Sands has been working hard in Japan for several years, that Genting is well positioned and that both have the wherewithal to finance mega resorts.