James Packer, Director of Australian gaming company Crown Resorts Limited, has declared that he will not be looking to expand the company’s offerings into the Japanese market anytime soon, according to an article in Agence France-Presse.
The announcement follows months of speculation over the future of integrated resorts in Japan. Many would assume that Crown Resorts, headquartered in Sydney, would be in a prime position to spread their operations to Japan. However, Packer expressed a desire to focus on the construction of a flagship resort in Sydney as his company’s current priority.
Shizo Abe, the current Japanese Prime Minister recently called a snap election, which took place on Sunday, further delaying political conversations surrounding integrated resorts. Results have shown that his coalition has retained a two thirds majority in parliament. That is good news for casino operators who feared a change in leadership could jeopardise the legalisation timeline further.
Despite the encouraging election result, Crown Resorts' current restructuring has taken priority above the potentially fruitless Japanese venture which is likely to involve a lengthy and high cost bidding war between several of the world largest casino operators.
MGM Resorts have already expressed an interest in the market, cementing their intent with the launch of their Japanese facing website earlier in October.
Although Packer did reiterate that he was only one Director, it’s a clear indication that not all major casino operators will compete for the Japanese market. Crown Resorts will continue to develop their $1.9bn integrated resort in Sydney in a project described by Packer as “the most important building built in Australia in a long time”.