Konami plans casino investments

    Konami Corp, a Japanese electronic gaming and pachinko company, says it’s planning to invest in casinos once Japan legalizes the market. Konami plans to set up a subsidiary through which it would take a minority stake in casinos in partnership with operators.Konami said that its experience selling slot machines overseas would help it partner with casino operators hoping to enter the Japanese market. “We can use that network we have built as a machine manufacturer to take part in a consortium here in Japan,” Konami executive Noriaki Yamaguchi told Reuters.Japan’s hotly anticipated bill to set the ball in motion for operators to bid for casino licenses now looks highly unlikely to be passed by the end of the current Diet session on June 22. However, participants at last week’s G2E Asia conference said they were still optimistic the bill will be approved later this year.Analysts say the Japanese market is likely to be worth about $20 billion, though some estimates are as high as $40 billion, making it the second-biggest market in the world after Macau.The Japanese government under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pushing for the bill to help it reach ambitious targets to double the number of tourists visiting the country.