MGM Resorts is Concerned About Entering Japan’s Casino Industry

In 2018, Japan lawmakers shocked the world by legalizing casino gambling. It was a huge step forward for this country that had previously banned virtually all forms of gambling. Unfortunately, companies like MGM Resorts International are now wary of breaking into Japan’s casino industry.MGM Resorts International Logo

Casinos around the world are being devastated right now. Japan’s leaders are now struggling to find companies willing to operate a casino in their country. Today, we’re going to discuss why this process has been so difficult.

Let’s get into it!

Japan is Still Struggling to Finalize Casino Plans

The news of Japan’s decision to legalize casinos spread like wildfire. This country is home to a huge number of passionate gamblers. Unfortunately, no legitimate casinos have been able to operate here. Casino companies immediately saw the potential in this new market.

Japan eventually revealed that three casino-resorts would be allowed to open in the city. Different city officials quickly began preparing plans to host one of these new casinos. Residents around Japan seemed torn on whether or not these new gaming venues would benefit the country.

In 2018, analysts predicted that Japan would grow to become the third-largest casino market in the world. Obviously, casino companies began jumping at the opportunity to operate here. Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, and Wynn Resorts all expressed a desire to run one of the country’s three casinos. MGM planned to enter into Osaka, a city that’s been pushing hard to host one of these properties.

Unfortunately, Japan has struggled to get the licensing process finished. There seem to be several issues getting this industry moving. As of now, it’s still unclear where exactly the different casinos will be located.

Things have been made worse by the global pandemic. Casinos around the world have been forced to close down permanently. Many of the ones now open have seen their revenue earnings drop immensely.

It now appears another major casino company is dropping out of the race to enter this new market.

MGM Resorts International No Longer Seems Interested in Breaking Into Japan’s Casino Industry

It’s been incredible to watch how quickly Japan’s plans to revitalize its gambling industry have fallen apart. For several reasons, this no longer appears to be a strong location to open a casino-resort. That is the general consensus among major casino companies.

Over the past few months, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts have both decided to stay away from Japan. MGM Resorts International appeared to be one of the only major US companies interested in a casino license here. That may no longer be the case, though.

MGM Resorts is now slowly backtracking on its move into Japan. News is beginning to surface that the company only wants a minority stake in the Osaka casino. President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle spoke about this move to the media this week.

“[MGM will] only make this investment if we think it’s going to be prudent, if we think it’s going to pay the kind of returns that it needs to pay and to meet our expectation,” he said. 

MGM recognizes that public opposition to the casino plans has intensified over the past year. To make things worse, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently announced his resignation. The country’s next leader may have different plans for Japan’s casino industry.

Experts are questioning whether or not it makes sense for Japan to welcome casinos right now. The country is still working hard to come up with plans for the 2021 Olympic Games. It may be best to put the casino plans on hold, for now.

Concerns About 2021 Olympic Games Linger in Japan

As most are aware, Japan was originally scheduled to host the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. The country had invested a huge amount of money into this event. In March, members of the IOC and Japan’s government were forced to announce the postponement of this global sporting event.

Event organizers then announced it would be pushed back to summer of 2021. Hope is that the global pandemic will be under control by then. Much of the country remains skeptical this will be the case.

Infection rates continue to increase around the world. Europe is beginning to enter into a second wave of infections. Japan continues to enter in lockdowns each time major virus clusters are spotted.

Some officials here are pushing to host the event next summer. Others point to the massive economic cost of doing so and feel it’s now better to simply cancel the event entirely. This entire situation is taking a toll on other industries, including Japan’s casino industry still struggling to come together.

There’s no telling how things will look by next summer. As of now, the likelihood of Japan hosting the Olympics in 2021 appears to be slimming. We’ll continue offering updates on this situation over the next few months.

Are you surprised to see more companies setting their plans to break into Japan aside? Let us know in the comments section below!