Casinos blooming, next destination: Tokyo, Japan.

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Just like Singapore, casinos are not regarded highly by the Japanese government, previously. The Singaporean government does not like the casinos in Singapore to cause social problems in Singapore. However, they know that integrated resorts (IRs), with casinos will mean economic growth. It would mean the whole family can travel to Singapore and the father may want to try his luck while the other members of the family goes for Universal Studio or all the kiddy rides. It would also mean that going to Singapore would no longer just for the year end fireworks or the Singapore Sale. The huge crowd visiting F1 in Singapore can now have another attraction and may extend their stay there. Everything points to MORE MONEY for the country.

Times are changing however. In a news reported in Forbes, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is creating a task force to jump start preparations for casinos in Japan. This task force will do its best to push through Integrated Resorts plans which is aimed at the 2020 Olympic SUmmer Games in Tokyo. In fact, gaming companies has said that they are ready to spend US$5 Billion to builld these integrated resorts. According to an estimate of the annual gaming revenue, it hovers around $40 Billion for IRs in Tokyo, Osaka plus up to 10 smaller ones in other areas. This is as much as Macau last year and six times bigger than Las Vegas or Singapore. Japan has an extensive gambling culture which includes the world’s highest racing handle, plus pachinko, Japan’s unique pinball and slot machine hybrid that had estimated revenue of $36 billion last year. Model to follow? Singapore’s.

Personally, I love travelling and Japan is my number one country outside Malaysia. However, for me to travel to Japan to enter its casino, I think it is highly likely for one time. After that, I do not foresee myself travelling there just for its casino. Perhaps that is because I am not much of a gambler. My gambling these days consists of one time RM200 either BIG or SMALL and in the last one in Genting, I won. Nevertheless, with Japan’s current economy which is not really growing, anything exciting is always welcomed. There’s a reason why the Singaporean government finally decided to start IRs. For Japan, the reason might just be the same and the even the model of Singapore can be adopted. Would it affect property prices? Tokyo prices are already extremely high. Perhaps it will help the hotel industry somewhat.

written on 5 Sept 2014

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