ccording to Tokyo-based consultancy Gaming Capital Management (GCM), which had a representative at the meeting, Loveman gave a 15-minute presentation on the topic of integrated casino resorts and the IR business model. Topics covered included: the likely rate of return on investment; the likely break-even point of a Japanese IR operation; typical player payout ratios within the industry; the expected size of investment; and how to attract Chinese and other overseas players. Loveman also touched on social responsibility issues including addiction prevention methodology.
Caesars has repeatedly been linked on a speculative basis with putative casino projects in Asia—ever since its corporate predecessor Harrah's decided against bidding for a casino licence in Macau, and then dropped out of the bidding for a Singapore IR in 2006 just days before the bid adjudication process was due to begin.
Association Chairman Issei Koga of the governing Democratic Party of Japan started Friday's session with a recap on the progress of a draft bill to legalise casinos. It’s hoped the bill can be debated in the current extraordinary session of the Japanese Diet [parliament].
Association Vice Chairman Takeshi Iwaya of the Liberal Democratic Party emphasised the IR bill aimed to boost Japan’s economic growth by encouraging foreign tourism. A similar argument was used by the Singapore government when it proposed introducing casinos. The group’s Executive Secretary Sakihito Ozawa of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) proposed a small reshuffle of senior officials in the Association—a proposal that was approved unanimously.
Mr Ozawa added that Seiji Maehara, chairman of the DPJ’s Policy Research Committee, supports the bill. Mr Iwaya observed that the LDP is also moving forward. Toshimitsu Motegi, chairman of the LDP’s Policy Research Council, is said to be one of the most pro-casino members of the Association. Three other smaller parties in the lobbying group also said there was parliamentary support for the bill. Mr Ozawa added it was possible that the preparation period for legislation could be reduced from one to two years to reflect the urgency of economic regeneration following the recent natural disasters.
GCM said around 120 people attended Friday’s meeting, including 20 Diet members.