Edward Tracy, Hard Rock: Will integrated resorts translate in Japan?

Edward Tracy, Hard Rock: Will integrated resorts translate in Japan?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

In 2016, a bill was passed in Japan which is set to legalise casinos within the context of an integrated resort. Beyond that, certainty is scarce, Edward Tracy, CEO, Hard Rock Japan, told us.

“For example, we don’t know the tax rate, whether or not we’ll require a Japanese partner or even the locations,” he said.

He added: “There’s lots of work to be done….and we hope to have an update by mid-year.”

Lost in translation

Data suggests that 50% of Japanese people are against introducing casinos. 

Tracy said: “Our research shows there is no literal translation of 'integrated resort' in Japanese. If you say integrated resort, [Japanese people] think casino only. That brings with it some connotations that refer back to Pachinko-related problems etc. It doesn’t get to the heart of the difference between a big-box gambling house and an integrated resort. Our job is really to help educate the public right now.”

Driving tourism

While Japan already has an excellent and thriving tourism industry, Tracy believes there are still untapped niches that integrated resorts could help fill. 

He said: “The MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) business in particular is not as strong as it should be.”

This is likely a result of real estate being scarce in metropolitan areas and very expensive when it is available. An integrated resort could allow meeting players to “check every box” he said, including food, entertainment, hotels and gaming.