Each Japan Integrated Resort Casino Will Measure at Least 1M Square Feet

Posted on: February 4, 2019, 09:41h. 

Last updated on: February 6, 2019, 08:48h.

Japan’s forthcoming integrated resorts (IR) will feature three massive properties, as lawmakers are mandating that each comes with at least one million square feet of interior space.

Japan integrated resorts casinos
Japan lawmakers want the three casino integrated resorts to be large properties. (Image: Kyodo News Agency)

Appointed lawmakers forming the regulatory conditions for the commercial gaming industry issued an IR Development and Promotion Ordinance this week that explains, “The total floor space of all guest rooms must substantially exceed 100,000 square meters.” That equates to 1.07 million square feet.

The ordinance additionally mandates that MICE facilities (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions) be capable of holding at least 1,000 people at a time. As for the gaming floor, the casino must not exceed three percent of the total IR space.

The world’s major casino operators have been anxiously awaiting such regulatory details, as they partner with local companies in developing their IR schemes.

Megaresort Industry

Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts are viewed by gaming analysts as the leading contenders to win two of the three IR licenses. Both Las Vegas companies have vast experience building some of the world’s largest hotels.

In terms of number of rooms, Sands’ Palazzo and Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip together have more than 7,000 rooms, which makes it the second-largest hotel complex on the planet (First World Hotel in Malaysia has slightly more occupancies).

MGM Grand is next at just shy of the 7,000-room mark. While more than one million square feet of space is a large number, Sands and MGM won’t be intimidated. Sands Cotai, one of the company’s IRs in Macau, has more than 13.7 million square feet of non-gaming facilities.

Goldman Sachs estimates Japan’s three casinos upon full maturation will gross nearly $16 billion in annual win. Nevada casinos won $11.57 billion in 2017.

The lofty projections are fueling large investment bids. Final regulatory conditions reached by Japanese lawmakers will dictate just how much operators spend, but early suggestions are upwards of $10 billion per integrated resort.

Bidding Process

Japan’s federal government will soon accept bids from prefectures that want one of the three casino resorts. The bidding process will be a two-step process, as casino operators will first bid individual prefectures to partner with.

It might be slim pickings. As Casino.org reported last week, there are currently only three prefecture governments that have openly endorsed bringing commercial gambling to their jurisdiction. That means 44 prefectures continue to sit on the IR sidelines.

Sands and MGM are both focused on Osaka, one of the three prefectures that has embraced an IR.

A poll conducted last year by the Nikkei Asian Review found that 53 percent of the general public remain opposed to authorizing commercial gaming. Japan has long banned gambling, but pachinko machines are wildly popular.

One in 11 Japanese citizens play pachinko at least once a week. Pachinko games are vertical pinball machines that are sometimes compared to slots.

Pachinko players don’t receive money, but credits that can be used for various prizes.