Casino News Roundup: Japan, Hard Rock, Canadian Flip

This week’s casino news focuses on a number of big changes in the land-based landscape. From new legislation in Japan to new openings in the United States, there were some notable headlines to keep track of this week.

It’s Official: Japan Passes Casino Bill to Allow Casinos

In an expected move but one that has been long drawn out, Japan has finally legalized casinos and gaming. While it has been viewed as a slam dunk to happen for quite some time, the issue is that it seemed to be dragging on for much longer than necessary.

On Friday, the controversial bill was put to a vote, and while it faced stiff opposition Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his cabinet easily passed it. His government currently holds a majority.

The next step is for Japan to start to determine who will get invited to the party. The biggest casino companies in the world like Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International have been foaming at the mouth to get a taste of the untapped Japanese market. Now we’ll start to move closer to that.

The question becomes how will the casino experience look in Japan? They’ve spoken about integrated resorts that will offer gaming, entertainment, restaurants and more – like in Las Vegas – and right now, three are approved. But will there be a strip? Or will they be sprinkled all around the country?

Japan is the last developed country to have legalized gaming, and with such a massive population all of the casino giants are excited to offer their services.

Hard Rock Partners With Seminole Tribe For Sacramento Casino

The Hard Rock brand is expanding to Sacramento. The international chain has partnered with the Seminole Tribe of Florida for a $440 million casino-hotel in Yuba County. Reports suggest that the new venue will be built by the Toyota Amphitheatre in Wheatland. While we don’t have a ton of details just yet, we do know that it will be named the Hard Rock Sacramento.

It’s become a booming area for casinos. In April, the Buena Vista Band of Me-Wuk Indians partnered with Caesars Entertainment Corporation for a casino in Amador County (roughly 30 miles east of Sacramento). In Elk Grove, the Wilton Rancheria Tribe is rumored to be finalizing the details on a $400 million casino-hotel project of their own.

Canadian Casinos Could Flip To American Stewardship

Two well-known Canadian casinos could be run by American operators in the near future. Casino Niagara and the Niagara Fallsview Casino – the two casinos closest to Niagara Falls – are currently Canadian-owned and Canadian-operated. However, the 20-year licenses are about to expire for both. While the bidding process to renew the license has begun, the two Canadian companies have pulled out as the bidding has becoming a little too expensive for their tastes.

Although the initial hope was that there would be bidders on both sides, the Americans have been pushing the price up. Hard Rock Café International Incorporated, Caesars Entertainment Corporation and Mohegan Tribe’s Mohegan Gaming have much larger bankrolls to work with. While the Toronto-based Falls Management Group has managed the properties since 1996 and 2004, respectively, the three American companies are making aggressive offers that they won’t be able to match.