Hard Rock joins list of budding Japan casino investors

Hard Rock International Inc. says it is prepared to make a “major investment” in Japan, Bloomberg reports.

With renewed discussions around the legalization of casinos in the country, the U.S. chain is looking for partners to jointly bid for a license should gaming resorts be approved, said its chief executive officer Hamish Dodds in an interview with Bloomberg.

“We can either play a lead role or a partnership role,” Dodds said. “We really hope that we can collaborate with Japanese partners and institutions.”

Last week, Las Vegas-based casino operator MGM Resorts International said it is willing to spend up to $10 billion for a Japanese casino via a REIT, according to its chief executive James Murren.

In an interview with Reuters, MGM’s Murren said the company would spend between JPY 500 billion and JPY 1 trillion yen ($4.8 billion-$9.5 billion) on an “integrated resort” in Tokyo, Yokohama or Osaka.

In 2014, Las Vegas Sands chairman and chief executive Sheldon Adelson said the company is prepared to invest up to $10 billion in Japan if the country legalizes casinos.

“The Japanese gaming market is to be the holy grail,” said CLSA’s Aaron Fischer in a phone interview with Bloomberg. He says casino revenue there could be “bigger than Macau” depending on the number of integrated resorts.