MGM Resorts may invest $10 billion in Japan, says CEO

JIJI

James Murren, visiting chairman and chief executive officer of major U.S. casino operator MGM Resorts International, says his company may consider investing $10 billion in integrated resort operations in Japan.

Japan’s integrated resort market could be “much bigger than Las Vegas,” Murren said on Thursday.

Murren said MGM Resorts hoped to launch an integrated resort business in Japan in 2022 at the earliest, stressing that the project could create some 60,000 jobs.

Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka are candidate sites, he said, while stopping short of specifying a target location for his company’s business in Japan.

“We are more focused on metropolitan areas,” Murren also said, signaling the company’s hope to operate integrated resorts in multiple Japanese cities in the long run.

In December, the Diet enacted a so-called integrated resort promotion bill to legalize casinos.

Murren said that he was “highly encouraged” by the move, calling it “a very important step.”

However, opposition to the lifting of the casino ban persists, due to concerns over gambling addiction and a rise in crime.

The average Japanese citizen “does not understand yet” what an integrated resort is, Murren said, noting that his company plans first to supply accurate information about such facilities.