Caesars Entertainment No Longer Pursuing Japanese Integrated Resort Casino License

Posted on: August 29, 2019, 03:38h. 

Last updated on: August 31, 2019, 01:39h.

Caesars Entertainment has pulled its name from the list of businesses considering a casino license in Japan, the company announced late Wednesday.

The iconic Caesars Palace brand will not end up on a Japanese casino after Caesars Entertainment executives announced Wednesday they would no longer seek one of the three licenses the country plans to award. (Image: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

The announcement comes nearly three years after Japan’s Diet, its parliamentary body, opened the door for integrated resort (IR) casinos, and a little more than a year after it approved legislation allowing for three such resorts in the country.

Jim Hunt, the chairman of Caesars Board of Directors, said in a statement he was thankful for the way the company had been treated by Japanese government and business leaders during the time Caesars considered entering into the emerging gaming market.

The announcement also follows a trend in recent months by the Las Vegas-based company. Already, Caesars has pulled back from pursuing opportunities in both Australia and Greece.

The timing of our decision is driven by sensitivity to the significant decisions Japan’s government and business partners will likely be making later this year to advance the process,” said Tony Rodio, Caesars CEO, in a statement.

Earlier this year Eldorado Resorts and Caesars reached an agreement on a $17.3 billion merger that would keep the Caesars moniker, but give Eldorado stakeholders a majority share in the new organization when the deal closes sometime next year.

Tom Reeg, Eldorado’s CEO, has prefviously stated that in order for the merged company to pursue an international opportunity, it would have to be a “stupendous” deal.

Caesars Still Has International Presence

Caesars currently has casinos in Canada, Dubai, Egypt, England, and South Africa. It is also building an IR in South Korea that is expected to open in 2021.

As recently as last year, it appeared the company was considering seeking a license on Macau, which only has six, in the special administrative region of China. Caesars opted not to pursue one when the region first issued them nearly 20 years ago.

Caesars’ rivals, including Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, and MGM Resorts International, ended up scoring licenses in the SAR, which has since become the world’s largest gaming market. The Macau properties helped those companies weather the Great Recession.

Sands, MGM Anong Those Still Interested

Analysts say the IRs, even with just three in the country, would quickly position Japan among the world’s largest gaming markets. The estimated $8 billion the IRs would generate would make Japan the world’s third-largest market behind Macau and Las Vegas.

The Nikkei Asian Review reported last week that Yokohama became just the second major city in the country to place a bid for an integrated resort, joining Osaka. As the cities have announced, the casino operators interested in securing a license have started to make their preferences clear.

Last week, timed with the Yokohama announcement, Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson said his company would focus its efforts on landing a license either there or in Tokyo. That’s after the company invested years in pursuing an opportunity in Osaka.

Meanwhile, MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren said last week that his firm remains committed to winning a license to build an IR in Osaka. MGM is working in partnership with Orix.