Japan Casino Advertisements Restricted to International Airports, Seaports

Posted on: January 23, 2019, 08:25h. 

Last updated on: January 23, 2019, 08:25h.

Japan casino advertisements will be limited to international airport and seaport terminals in an effort to reduce any potential harm the liberalization of commercial gambling might have on citizens.

Japan casino advertisement airport
Travelers arriving at Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport will soon see advertisements marketing the Japan casino industry. (Image: Toshiyuki Aizawa/Getty)

Appointed lawmakers working in the country’s Integrated Resorts (IR) Promotion Council continue to finalize the regulations of Japan’s forthcoming gaming industry. The latest out of Tokyo is that the governing panel has reached a policy that will prevent advertisements highlighting gambling operations from being displayed anywhere other than where international travelers arrive in the country.

Japan is expected to authorize three multibillion-dollar IRs. With commercial gambling still unpopular among the general public, lawmakers are placing a ¥6,000 (US $55) entry fee on those who live in the country to help ease fears that addiction rates will climb.

The advertising mandate is the latest step in the IR Promotion Council trying to persuade the federal government’s message that the liberalization of the casino resorts will grow tourism and convention business, as well as generate new tax revenue, without societal harm.

Casino Ops Waiting

The world’s major casino operators, which include all six of the licensees in Macau, the richest gambling hub on planet Earth, hope to invade Japan. The three concessions are considered the biggest prize in the gaming industry since Macau ended SJM Holdings’ casino monopoly in 2002.

Casino operators have floated lofty investment projections upwards of $10 billion. Melco Resorts CEO Lawrence Ho said he “prefers not to constrain our dreams with price tags.”

The companies have also pledged to become strong allies to Japanese society, and partner with local businesses.

Japanese lawmakers haven’t issued a concrete timetable as to when formal bidding for the three licenses might begin. However, Ho said last month that he expects Japan will form its gaming control board this summer.

Once the federal gaming oversight agency is in place, casinos will partner with prefectures and cities to submit bids. “2019 will be a year where operators like us will be trying to join consortiums, and I think by the end of ’19 there’s a possibility that the bidding will have started,” Ho forecasted.

Presentations Underway

While the actual bids for the licenses won’t be presented to the federal government until at least the second half of 2019, casino operators are already making their pitches to prefecture officials interested in welcoming one of the IRs.

Earlier this month, Hard Rock, Caesars Entertainment, Melco Resorts, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, and SJM all made presentations at the Hokkaido IR Showcase. Hokkaido is the second largest island in the country behind Honshu. The island is home to five million people, with about 40 percent living in the capital Sapporo.

MGM Resorts and Las Vegas Sands, the leading candidates for licensure according to analysts, are respectively targeting Yokohama and Osaka. MGM recently announced former Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R) would be heading up its licensing efforts in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Along with the aforementioned casino operators, companies actively assembling Japan casino bids include Wynn Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment, and Genting Group.