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Japan, Asia's Next Gambling Hub?

Shoppers walk through the Grand Canal Shoppes inside the Venetian Macao resort and casino on Feb. 18
Shoppers walk through the Grand Canal Shoppes inside the Venetian Macao resort and casino on Feb. 18Photograph by Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

After having opened casinos in Macau and Singapore, Sheldon Adelson is focusing on another new Asian market. Adelson has profited nicely from the boom in gambling in the former Portuguese colony and the Southeast Asian city-state. Now the chairman of Las Vegas Sands wants to build a new gambling resort, this time in Japan. Adelson told reporters in Tokyo today he is willing to invest $10 billion in the country. “We will spend whatever it takes,” he said.

As he talks up his investment plans, the Vegas tycoon no doubt is hoping to get the attention of Japanese lawmakers. Casino gambling isn’t legal in Japan. But the supporters of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may take care of that problem soon. Abe is in favor of legalization, and his Liberal Democratic Party controls the Diet, the Japanese parliament that’s now considering a bill to open the market to casino gambling.