Casino execs cooling on Japan

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A multitude of issues, including a long and difficult process and doubts over eventual returns on investment, is making the idea that Japan could be the next Macau look very unlikely.

Casino executives who have been optimistic about Japan as a potential $20bn gaming market are beginning to question whether it is worth all the trouble.

Japan legalised casino gambling in 2016 to great excitement in the industry. Companies including MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands have spent heavily to get access to a gaming market that could become Asia’s second-largest after Macau.

Three years later, some of that enthusiasm is wearing off. A number of casino executives, who declined to speak publicly because of the sensitive nature of the casino approval process, told Bloomberg News that the process in Japan has been more difficult compared with other markets that have built gaming industries. At least one company, Caesars Entertainment, has pulled out.

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