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Japan

A Universal Entertainment lawyer offered to pay a former Universal employee if he withdrew a claim that the company had given bribes to advance a Philippine casino project, Reuters reported, citing a copy of the proposal. Lawyer, Yuki Arai, presented the proposal to a lawyer for the former employee in July 2013. According to the document, the proposed conditions included Nakano handing over any materials he had provided to the FBI and the Nevada Gaming Control Board and not providing further information to investigative agencies.

The Japan Gaming Congress said three LDP Party House of Representatives members will be speaking at a keynote discussion of the Japan Gaming Congress.

The three politicians comprise Mr. Takeshi Iwaya, Chief Secretary of IR GIREN and a key proponent of gambling reform, Mr. Koichi Hagiuda, and Mr. Sakihito Ozawa. 

Universal Entertainment Corp and founder Kazuo Okada filed a criminal complaint against Wynn Resorts Ltd in Japan claiming defamation. Universal said it submitted the complaint with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on April 24. It said Wynn and CEO Steve Wynn were involved in  "defamation, harm to public trust and circulation of rumors." The case relates to an investigation into Universal in the Philippines.

In a detailed report on the potential for Japan’s gambling industry, UBS said it estimates a market size of $9.4 billion in 2020, the year it expects the first casino to open, growing to $18.4 billion by 2030. It expects three casinos to open initially and at least two further complexes after that.  UBS said it expects the bill to legalise casinos to be passed by the end of June. “The lifting of Japan's casino prohibition will give leading overseas operators an opportunity to develop a new market.

Osaka is likely to designate Yumeshima, with about 170 hectares (420 acres) of land available for development, as the preferred site for a casino, Governor Ichiro Matsui told Reuters in an interview. Officials will meet on April 22 to discuss the matter. He said he met recently with Melco Crown CEO Lawrence Ho and believes casino operators will be prepared to invest more than 500 billion yen ($4.91 billion) in the city. "It's about time that as a city we narrow down the candidate sites.

H.I.S. Co.’s Dutch-themed Huis Ten Bosch amusement park along the Nagasaki coast may buy a deserted offshore island to boost its appeal as a site for a casino resort, company Chairman Hideo Sawada told Bloomberg in an interview. Adding a casino could double sales at H.I.S., while the effect on profit would depend on how much the Japan’s largest listed travel company invests, Sawada was cited as saying. “We will be the fastest one to build a casino, once there is a green light,” Sawada said.

Dynam Japan Holdings Co said its plans to build a casino in Japan are part of a mid-to-long-term strategy and it has yet to identify a partner. The company issued a statement about its position following a Reuters report citing Chairman Yoji Sato as saying Dynam has held talks with Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, SJM Holdings Ltd and Galaxy Entertainment Group, as well as South Korea's Paradise Group and NagaCorp Ltd. The report said Dynam wants to announce a partnership once an initial bill to legalize casinos has been published.

Melco Crown is considering a $5 billion Japan casino project that would be even more elaborate than the company’s City of Dreams resort in Macau, The Australian newspaper reported, citing Todd Nisbet, the executive leading the Japan bid. Melco is in talks with several Japanese companies, including some with operations in Australia, he said. The company also expected to wrap up negotiations on a separate project in Sri Lanka before the end of the year.

Nomura is pessimistic the current Diet session will find the time to push through the IR bill by the end of the current session, giving it only a 50/50 chance, according to a Barron’s report.  In a best case scenario, the Japanese brokerage said it expects shovels in the ground in Q4, 2016 and added it’s unlikely that there will be enough time to fully develop a resort in time for the Olympics. It did say a project in a rural location may manage to open by 2020, even if not fully completed.

Takeshi Iwaya, a Diet member who is one of the main proponents of the bill to legalise integrated resorts in Japan, is optimistic the promotion bill  can be passed before the current Diet session ends on 22nd June, according to UBS analysts who recently met with the lawmaker. Potential obstacles lie in whether the relevant committee will have the time and resources to discuss the bill given other budget priorities and not in garnering enough support, he said. UBS said the timetable seems in line with market expectations.

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