* Aims to partner with casino operators, take minority stake
* Japan casino proponents aim to pass legislation soon
TOKYO May 28 Japanese gaming company Konami
Corp said it was planning to invest in casinos in
anticipation of legislation to legalise gambling and help create
an entertainment and resort market some estimate to be worth
over $40 billion.
Liberal Democratic Party lawmakers are trying to pass
legislation allowing the development of casino resorts in Japan,
although time is running out for a bill to be approved in the
current parliamentary session ending next month.
Konami said it would set up a subsidiary, once a casino bill
is passed, through which it would take a minority stake in
casinos in partnership with operators.
Companies like Melco Crown Entertainment, MGM
Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corp
have expressed interest in investing in Japanese casinos.
The country is one of the world's last untapped gaming
markets and broker CLSA says it could become a leading gambling
destination with annual revenue over $40 billion.
Supporters of the casino bill want the first resorts to open
by 2020 when Tokyo hosts the Olympic Games.
Konami sells game software and "pachinko" pinball machines
in Japan, but also distributes slot machines overseas,
experience that Konami executive Noriaki Yamaguchi said would
help it partner with casino operators looking to enter the
"We can use that network we have built as a machine
manufacturer to take part in a consortium here in Japan," he
(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Emi Emoto; Editing by Matt