In wake of Japan opening up its gaming market, Macau’s government has said that it will closely monitor developments to ensure that Macau’s casino industry remains competitive.
Reacting to news that a casino legalization bill had been cleared by the Japanese parliament, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac said that the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) government will take note of further developments with respect to the legislation.
In a statement, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, said,
We will pay close attention to the later details [of the legislation], such as the taxation system and the timetable [of the legislation] so that we can study and determine the future development of Macau, as well as our situation in the international market – how to keep our advantages in the international competition when gaming concessions expire in the future.
The Japanese casino bill currently doesn’t have implementation details. This is expected to be presented in a separate bill shortly.
According to Joey Lao Chi Ngai, director of the Macau Economic Association, Macau is not likely to see any impact in the short term or the medium term. He pointed out that Macau still had a significant competitive edge over Japan and that it would take Japan several years to reach Macau’s level.
The Japanese bill currently cleared allows the setting up of integrated reports in the country with gaming facilities. The measure saw significant opposition from other party legislators who adopted delaying tactics in an attempt to block the bill. The bill was allowed to be put to vote after provisions for problem gambling were made stronger along with the addition of a requirement to review the law in five years.
Opposition leaders like Komeito head Natsuo Yamaguchi have alleged that legislators weren’t able to discuss the bill sufficiently as the government pushed it through forcefully. Casinos have always been a part of Prime Minister Abe’s plan for reviving growth and improving investments in the country. He has repeatedly said that casinos can provide a boost to the country’s tourism industry.
Satoshi Sakamoto, an executive of Konami Holdings Corp. which is likely to set up an investment company focusing on the gaming sector in Japan has said that the implementation bill would provide important inputs on how the sector would be developed in the country. Top U.S. casino operators welcomed the news. MGM Resorts said that it was well-poised to start a project at the earliest since a team was already deployed in Tokyo.