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Adelson Seeks to Woo Japan Prime Minister in Casino Visit

Las Vegas Sands Corp. founder Sheldon Adelson said he hopes a visit to his Singapore casino by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will speed up the legalization of casinos in Abe’s home country.

Japan’s leader will tour the Marina Bay Sands resort in Singapore on May 30 and get a “scripted plea” to push for legalization, Adelson said yesterday at an investor conference in New York. Japanese legislators are considering allowing Las Vegas-style resorts. Sands’ Singapore casino features three hotel towers supporting a rooftop, vanishing-edge pool.

“He may just tell an aide to get on the phone and tell the Diet to push it through,” Adelson said, referring to the Japanese legislature.

Adelson said Japan’s parliament may not approve a casino bill in the session ending June 22. The government could consider the measure again when it reconvenes in 90 days, making passage possible between September and December, he said.

The world’s 11th richest person, with a net worth of $36 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Adelson spoke at a Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. conference.

Adelson, 80, citing reports by analysts, journalists and other observers of the Asian industry, said the winner of a license in Japan or South Korea, which is also weighing an expansion, could gain $40 billion or more in market value.

Sands wants to build a casino resort in Seoul on the site of the 1988 Summer Olympics, Adelson said. Resorts in either country would complement Sands’ casinos in Macau, because high-rollers and conventioneers like to travel, he said.

The Las Vegas-based company could finance two, $8 billion resorts in Asia and still pay dividends, Adelson said.

Sands closed little changed at $75.97 yesterday in New York. The stock is down 3.7 percent this year.

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