Sands CEO says to spend 'whatever it takes' for Japan casino

Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:02am EST
 
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By Nathan Layne

TOKYO (Reuters) - Las Vegas Sands Corp LVS.N Chief Executive Sheldon Adelson said on Monday his company was willing to spend "whatever it takes" to set up a casino project in Japan, one of the largest untapped gaming markets in the world.

Las Vegas Sands is considered a strong candidate to win a license in Japan, should the country open its market to casino gambling, in large part due to the success of its resort in Singapore which has served as a model for Japanese lawmakers.

But with every major global operator targeting Japan, competition is sure to be fierce. U.S.-based MGM Resorts International MGM.N, Malaysia's Genting Bhd GENT.KL and Macau casino venture Melco Crown Entertainment 6883.HK are among those also pushing hard for a crack at the market.

"Would I put in $10 billion? Yes," Adelson said at a media briefing during an investor seminar in Tokyo. "Would I rather do it at 7? Yes."

Broker CLSA estimates Japan could generate $40 billion in gaming revenues a year, assuming two large integrated resorts are set up in Tokyo and Osaka and 10 smaller sites open across the country in places such as the northern island of Hokkaido and Okinawa to the south.

That would make Japan Asia's second-largest market for gambling after Macau, which the brokerage said is set to rake in $51 billion this year.

GOING IT ALONE?

Slot machine and game makers Sega Sammy Holdings 6460.T and Konami Corp 9766.T and broadcaster Fuji Media Holdings 4676.T are among the Japanese companies that have shown an interest in the casino business.   Continued...