Tokyo may become home to a thriving casino industry as local politicians continue to reconsider past prejudices against the possibility. In recent years, the city has seen increased economic development as well as acceptance as host of the 2020 Olympic games. Although casino gambling has long been illegal in Tokyo, certain lawmakers have worked on plans for zones where the activity could be permitted. At this point, casino gambling is very likely to become a popular addition to pachinko for Tokyo gamblers, both Japanese and foreign.
Global Gambling Eyes on Tokyo
The international gambling industry is watching Tokyo hungrily since a recent Tokyo casino gambling conference was held. Companies including Las Vegas Sands Corporation, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts all presented their ideas for Tokyo’s gambling future. Industry leaders say that Tokyo is an untapped market of huge size thanks to its thriving economy and popularity with Chinese travelers. In fact, Chinese gamblers represent such a potential casino client base that Japanese reports on the possibility of casino gambling in Tokyo have hardly mentioned Japanese gamblers.
Projections of Tokyo’s Casino Gambling Future
The most likely scenario for Tokyo’s potential casino market involves business travelers from China and Southeast Asia. After arriving at the airport, these gamblers might travel directly to nearby industrial areas where they can attend to business as well as gambling. Some commentators have wondered if Japanese citizens would even be allowed to gamble there. After all, Vietnam has casinos but bans its own citizens from entering them, causing Vietnamese gamblers to visit casinos in Cambodia instead.
Asian Gambling Is Growing
Asia’s gambling market has continued to grow and now makes up 43 percent of the international gambling market. However, several of the countries there limit or prohibit their citizens’ ability to visit their casinos. Some experts have noted that Asian values actually facilitate gambling, which has helped foster success there. Unfortunately, the lack of gambling security restrictions in Asia have made money laundering commonplace.
Japanese gamblers may not currently have casinos, but they engage in prolific betting. In 2010, Japanese revenues from legal gambling totaled ¥24 trillion, far above the ¥5 trillion average for annual U.S. casino gambling. Pachinko is the only legal gambling outlet available to Japanese gamblers at present. Although casual Pachinko gamblers may not comprise the wealthy customer base casino executives expect to encounter in Japan, they represent a huge untapped market if they are able to visit casinos that are built in the country. Casino industry executives expect easy profits as they enter Japan, but the long-term local ramifications are less clear for now.