Australian tycoon Packer eyes Japan casino

SYDNEY, August 16, 2013 (AFP) – Australian tycoon James Packer said Friday he wants to expand his gaming empire into the lucrative Japanese market in the form of resort-casinos to tap the country’s love of gambling. The mogul, who already operates casinos in Melbourne, Perth and Macau and is planning complexes in Manila, Sydney and Sri Lanka, said Japan was his next big hope.

“I hope Japan comes up,” he told The Australian newspaper.

“If Japan comes on it will be the second-biggest gaming market in the world. It has 100 million people who are all mad gamblers but they are all doing it through horse racing and pachinko.

“Japan is looking at the Singapore story,” he added.

“Done wrong, gambling can be parasitic. But done right (through integrated resorts) it can be hugely additive.

“With integrated resorts done well, the good outweighs the bad. Singapore is proof of that.”

Japan has long been viewed as the Holy Grail of Asian gaming because of its wealthy population, proximity to China and appetite for other forms of legal gambling, including horse racing and pachinko, a slot machine-style game.

A bill is expected to be submitted to the Japanese parliament later this year that, if