Adelson says IR bill won’t allow “best” kind of IR

Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson has criticized Japan’s planned IR legislation and warned the bill in its current form will mean a lower level of investment from his company should it win a license.

On Friday afternoon, Adelson visited the Osaka Prefectural Office and held a private meeting with Osaka Governor Ichiro Matsui and Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura. This follows a similar meeting with the Osaka Governor by Sands’ COO Robert Goldstein on June 21.

After the meeting, Adelson briefly took questions from the assembled Japanese news media, which referred to him in their print stories as “the Casino Emperor.”

Adelson criticized the Experts’ Committee draft for regulation of IRs which has been proposed at the central government level, declaring that it wouldn’t allow construction of “the best kind of IR.” According to Adelson, under the current regulation proposals, Sands’ investment would be capped at about US$4-5 billion, but if the regulations were revised in a favorable direction, a $10 billion investment would be possible.

The proposed upper limits on casino floor space are apparently the aspect of the regulatory proposals that concern Adelson most.

Osaka Governor Matsui would likely be fully in agreement with Adelson, as he has been making similar criticisms of the central government plan, but it remains unclear if Tokyo will be accommodating so long as the general public remains overwhelmingly opposed to the construction of IRs.

Las Vegas Sands is considered a leading candidate to partner with Osaka in its IR bid, although several other major operators are expected to contest this location fiercely.