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Las Vegas Sands Bails On Plan For Japan Casino

Property Was Expected To Cost $10 Billion And Break Ground In Yokohama

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The Sheldon Adelson-owned Las Vegas Sands Corp. owns properties in Macau, Singapore and of course, Las Vegas.

It won’t, however, be building a property in Japan as the company announced Tuesday that it would no longer pursue a license in the country.

According to a Bloomberg report, the company has been trying to expand into Japan for about 15 years as the country has been flirting with the idea of legalizing casino gambling for some time.

Until 2018, it was illegal to own and operate a casino in Japan, but legislation passed that year would allow companies to apply for a license and spend as much as $10 billion building Japan’s first casino resort.

It was part of a plan from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to increase tourism and stimulate economic growth. The plan was expected to award three licenses in three different cities.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. was reportedly willing to spend that much on its Japanese property. Ultimately, there were roadblocks in the legislation that made Adelson believe the venture was a bad idea.

The biggest obstacle was the length of time its gambling license would be good for. The company has licenses in Macau and Singapore that are applicable for 20 and 30 years, respectively. Its license in Japan would only last for a decade. The shorter time frame allows for fluctuations in government policy that would make it hard for, or even illegal again, for Sands to turn a profit.

“We are grateful for all of the friendships we have formed and the strong relationships we have in Japan, but it is time for our company to focus our energy on other opportunities,” said Adelson in a statement.

Some gambling analysts are forecasting a Japanese gambling market worth as much as $20 billion on an annual basis, but the market’s biggest companies are pulling their bids from the market.

Last August, Caesars Entertainment stopped pursuing a license, while Malaysian gaming giants Genting and Galaxy Entertainment dropped out as well. MGM is still interested in acquiring a license to build a property in Osaka, while Las Vegas Sands was planning on breaking ground in Yokohama, a city just south of Tokyo.