NORTON NOTES: Sands + Osaka = $$$
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By Steve Norton
CEO, Norton Management
I feel confident that Sands President, Rob Goldstein, has had detailed analysis done that compared the economic potential of the greater Tokyo market with that of Osaka/Kyoto. But with a metro population of 37.8 million residents (the world’s largest) and an airport serving 87 million passengers (number 5 worldwide), I have to believe the potential for a Sands type convention/casino resort, is as good or even better than Osaka.
There is no question in my mind, that either of these two locations will produce, by far, the highest casino revenue of any existing or proposed destination casino anywhere.
Singapore's proposed expansions by Sands and Genting will produce higher revenues than any individual Macau casino but will be easily exceeded by the two largest Japanese markets, as long as unreasonable gaming restrictions aren't placed on the resident population. With the billions of dollars already being spent on pachinko and pachislot, the Japanese have indicated they have a similar penchant for gambling as other Oriental nationals.
From what I have read from other interested casino developers, like Sands, most seem to be more interested in Osaka, than Toyko. So, the obvious population and visitor demographic advantages of Tokyo don't tell the entire story. Perhaps it deals with the size, development potential or location of available sites; possibly the governmental or public support of casino gaming, but some issues have placed Osaka as the preferred location for Japan's first destination casino.