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Sri Lanka And Japan Looking To Enter Casino Market

The Asian casino market is the largest in the world. Macau has become the premiere destination for gamblers, after surpassing Nevada a few years back. In the years since, Singapore has joined the party, and now Sri Lanka and Japan are preparing to do the same.

Sri Lanka will be the first of the two newcomers to allow casino gambling. Lawmakers will vote today, and are expected to approve, a tax amnesty for Crown Ltd. Crown is owned by casino gaming mogul James Packer. The casino resort is expected to bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the area.

"There really is no stopping the gambling explosion we are seeing in Asia," said analyst Greg Vance. "Lawmakers look at the Macau model, and they think they can duplicate and get a piece of the enormous gambling pie. This is only the start of this explosion."

To back Vance's point, there is a realistic chance that Japan also enters the gaming industry in the coming years. Prominent Japanese legislators are proposing a bill that would legalize casinos in Japan. This would deal a blow to Macau and Singapore, the two most prominent Asian gaming destinations to date.

Macau opened up their casino market to foreign companies a decade ago, and the industry blew up when the likes of MGM Mirage, Las Vegas Sands, and Wynn Resorts all built casino Resorts in Macau. Asian high-roller gamblers stopped traveling across the ocean to Nevada, and started spending their money in Macau casinos.

Eventually, Macau overcame Nevada as the top gaming destination in the world. Singapore has done well in their brief stint in the industry, and Sri Lanka officials expect the same.

"This is what Sri Lanka needs, mega projects bringing in a new brand of tourists," said Sanjeewa Fernando, a CT Smith Stockbrokers Pvt. analyst. "Tourism revenues will be driven up and it'll bring in relatively richer tourists. Just like with the casinos in Singapore, the Crown project will bring Sri Lanka tourism to a new phase."

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