TOKYO Nov 8 Japan's biggest property developer
Mitsui Fudosan Co has joined forces with media firm
Fuji Media Holdings and builder Kajima Corp to
develop a proposed casino and resort complex in Tokyo.
After more than a decade of lobbying by lawmakers, a bill to
legalise casino gambling is seen as having a decent chance of
passing next year with the business-friendly Liberal Democratic
Party in power and after Tokyo won the bid to host the Summer
Olympics in 2020.
The three firms want to build a complex in Odaiba, near
Tokyo Bay, that would include a hotel, conference center and a
casino, Mitsui Fudosan said at an earnings briefing this week.
That plan hinges on the passage of the law and Tokyo being
chosen to host a casino. Japan's biggest city is seen as a prime
location for an integrated resort, but it is likely to face
competition from more than a dozen other locations across the
"Our role in this project would be to get involved and make
a contribution to help Tokyo become a more attractive city,"
said Masatoshi Satou, Mitsui Fudosan's executive managing
officer. "But it is totally up to what happens to the bill and
the direction of the government."
Mitsui Fudosan, Fuji Media and Kajima all declined to give
further details on the project beyond saying that they had
submitted a proposal to the government to develop a casino
resort as part of a special economic zone.
Japan is widely viewed as one of the last great untapped
markets due to its wealthy population and proximity to China.
Union Gaming, a U.S.-based investment bank, has predicted
Japanese gaming revenues could top $15 billion a year, making it
the second-largest market in the world after Macau.
International casino operators like MGM Resorts
International, Las Vegas Sands Corp, Melco Crown
Entertainment and Wynn Resorts Ltd have also
shown interest in developing casino resorts in Japan.
A group of more than 100 lawmakers, many from the LDP, will
meet on Tuesday to finalize plans for an initial bill which they
plan to submit during the current parliament session that ends
If the legislation passes next year, as the lawmakers hope,
the government would have to come up with concrete regulations
within a year. That could mean the first casino would open in
Japan in time for the 2020 Olympics.
Property developer Mori Building Co Ltd, which controls land
in the Odaiba area, has also been working on plans to develop a
casino resort with other companies, people with knowledge of the
A Mori Building spokesman said the company supports the move
to legalise casinos and declined to comment further.