Gambling laws around the world have been rapidly changing. Sports betting and eSports betting have been at the forefront of these discussions. However, there have been at least six major developments around the globe in the past three years. This includes Japan’s decision to back integrated resorts in the country. Industry experts have dubbed the future Japanese integrated resort as the single most valuable investment on the market, with the project’s potential expected to hit $40 billion.
Japanese Resorts Face Setbacks by Pandemic, US Thrives
However, a lot has happened, and those expectations have now cooled down. Brought on, mostly, by a global pandemic that has restricted international travel. The first of three planned integrated resorts is on track to be completed by 2030. This new resort should help revitalize Japan as a global hub for casino gaming, business, and leisure.
As these events unfold, the United States has been slowly launching online gambling in more states. Presently, six states support online casinos, but that number is bound to increase. The American Gaming Association posted commercial casino revenue in the United States citing $43.65 billion in revenue through November 2021. The December results have not been yet posted on the trade body’s website.
Casinos create immense economic value. An estimated 750,000 people work in the sector, owing to the 1,000 commercial casinos currently located in the United States. Mostly, though, the sector has been recovering from the pandemic. The benefits to the economy at a time when most other businesses had to completely suspend their operations have been noticeable.
While the United States and Japan have stuck to their guns and mostly looked to introduce land-based casinos, other nations around the world have decided to buck the trend and focus on interactive entertainment.
Canada Legalizes Sports Betting and iGaming
Canada has made headlines by deciding to legalize both its iGaming and online sports betting industry. This happened with the passage of a law that enabled Canadians to place bets on single events. Prior to last year, residents who wished to wager could only bet if they chose to back at least two games or make accumulators as those bets are known in the betting parlor.
However, things changed in August 2021 when Bill C-218 was passed on a federal level. This elicited immediate action from provinces. The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) was the first to act. They issued a statement that it would be allowing foreign operators to arrive in the province and offer their betting products online.
The OLG has now set the date for April 2022. Meanwhile, online gaming in Canada has also seen a wave of support. Legalization efforts have started and succeeded in Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and Ontario. This model is different from both what the United States and Japan are doing in keeping casino gaming restricted to land-based venues for fear of losing valuable revenue as well as hurting the job market.
Is Japan’s Model Better Than Online Gaming?
If we were to discuss a run-of-the-mill gaming model, it could be argued that enabling iGaming may be a better option. However, Asia has long been a place where some of the world’s biggest VIP customers are. High rollers, as they are known in casino vernacular, account for the biggest contributions towards casinos’ bottom line.
Macau and South Korea have both experimented with junket operators in a bid to attract more such high-paying customers and some have succeeded – until recently that is. As of this year, Macau has cut its ties with half of its junket operators and has reissued only half of 2021’s licenses.
This follows the arrest of Alvin Chau, the boss of the now-defunct Suncity Group, Asia’s biggest junket operator before its boss’s arrest. This puts Japan’s aspirations for integrated resorts back in focus as the competition will no doubt be set back by the lack of VIP customers.
Japan, on the other hand, along with its IR projects needs no introduction. The country’s potential when it comes to gaming is immense. The $40 billion targets set out at the beginning of negotiations back in 2018 may seem like a “missed opportunity” because of the recent setbacks experienced by the IR projects.
Melco and Caesars have both pulled out of the race in the past or so years. This does not mean that the project is down and out. Just the opposite. Japan will realize its trio of integrated resorts and that, in turn, is supposed to realize a huge economic windfall focused on tourism and foreign gaming with the most likely clientele being made up of high-value casino patrons.