The Australian businessman James Packer has given little importance to the possibility of Crown Resorts trying to acquire a casino license on the territory of Japan. He also warned of a certain risk of overcapitalisation of the company on its leading Crown Sydney casino project estimated to AU$2.4 billion, especially taking into account the fact that the brand has already spent massive amounts of money on its properties in Perth and Melbourne.
Ahead of the annual general meeting of Crown Resorts, Mr. Packer told The Australian that he did not want the management of the company to get distracted by investing a large amount of money in a bidding process for getting a permission to build a Japan-based casino resort.
Crown Resorts Investments in Australia and Japan
For some time now, Crown Resorts which is currently one of the leading gambling operators in Australia has been aimed at pursuing a casino operating license in case that it is allowed to set foot in the city of Yokohama. According to the operator, the city of Yokohama currently has some similarities to the Melbourne market.
As far as the company’s 2016 decision to dispose of its stake in Melco Crown Entertainment are concerned, Mr. Packer said there was not a large opportunity for the company to get back to both Macau and Las Vegas. Earlier in October, the former business partner of Mr. Packer, the chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Melco Resorts Lawrence Ho, confirmed that his company remains committed to the plans of entering the Japanese market. Interest in setting foot in Japan has also been confirmed by a number of other large American casino operators.
The company has also decided to put an end to its plans related to the Las Vegas-based Alon project, with the Alon land located on the Las Vegas strip now being offered for sale.
At this stage, Mr. Packer does not believe in Japanese expansion for the Australia-based operator. Of course, no final decision has been made yet, as he must have a conversation with the board. As a director, he explained that his opinion that the company should not set foot in Japan does not mean this would be forever, but he would not back the idea in the short term.
He, on the other hand, is also keen on the idea of expanding the major digital assets of Crown, including the online betting exchange Betfair, the online betting group CrownBet as well as DGN Games – an online social gaming business.
Crown Resort is making preparations to increase its capital spending for expanding in Sydney. According to some analysts, the venue’s worth would be approximately AU$1.6 billion. Considering the fact that Mr. Packer has raised the red flag, speaking of the risks of Sydney Crown overcapitalisation, the company’s shareholders have been aimed at making sure whether the brand could stop making other investments over the next couple of years and primarily focus on Crown Sydney project as well as on the development of a new five-star hotel located in Melbourne.
Japanese Parliament Removes Casino Gambling Restrictions
Until December 2016, when the Japanese Parliament officially passed the “Integrated Resort Promotion Law” to make casino resort developments legal across the country, casino venues were not legal on the territory of Japan.
The “Integrated Resort Promotion Law” has caused some controversy, so the international casino industry has still been expecting the country to roll out a formal casino bill that would set out the major principles of the local casino industry.
This, however, would probably be delayed to the middle of 2018 due to the local Parliament’s decision to call a quick election in November.