Gaming company Konami Holdings is interested in Japan’s newly legal casino market. However, the main thing that will determine their participation is if Japan’s gaming regulations are as strict as Las Vegas’.
Satoshi Sakamoto, a Konami senior executive, wants strict regulations because this is the only way to build a good reputation. And with a good reputation, Japan’s gaming market will be able to diversify beyond gambling and experience long-term success.
“In Las Vegas, if you have a license they’ll take it away if you start getting involved in strange things, and that would be a big problem,” said Sakamoto. “If Japan is too loose, then we’d have to remove ourselves.”
Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, and Wynn Resorts Ltd. are among the biggest names pursuing licensing in Japan. Having legalized casinos in December, Japanese lawmakers will meet again to vote on how many casino resorts will be approved. The first casino is expected to be finished by 2023, and the industry is expected to generate at least $25 billion annually.
As for Konami, they already make slot machines for casinos in Australia, Europe, Singapore, South Africa, and the US. Japan would give them one more lucrative market to serve. Of course, a lot needs to happen before anybody makes anything off Japanese casino gaming, including regulatory requirements.
“The most important thing is to have compliance and rules at the same level as Nevada,” Sakamoto explained. “We want a clean casino and entertainment.”
Sakamoto also added that they’ll take a look at the results of Japan’s next casino vote before deciding how involved they’ll be in the matter.
“We’re not going to compete with our customers. If our customers ask us, then we’ll look at the details and decide. First, the rules should be decided.”
According to Bloomberg, Konami is currently targeting 12% of Japan’s slot machine market. Sakamoto says that this could end up being 10,000 slots if Japan approves three casino resorts.