In a press conference held in Tokyo last April 07, 2014, Aussie casino billionaire businessman James Packer shared his vision of building a $5 billion integrated resort either in Tokyo or Osaka as a way of extending Crown's casino operations in Japan.
Packer, who is currently travelling in Asia as a member of the business delegation accompanying Prime Minister Tony Abbot, has confirmed reports of being in talks with some interested local parties. However, he made it clear that the talks are very preliminary as he is seeking for “a strong set of Japanese partners”.
Although there are ongoing proposals to legalize gambling and casino operations in Japan, the country's parliament is still on the verge of holding debates related to such legislative recommendations. Yet the mere possibility that the Japanese government will recognize the casino business as a legal industry easily attracted big-spending international casino operators. In addition to James Packer, Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts and James Murren of MGM Resorts have also their signified intention to expand their casino empire in the premier Asian country; and hopefully, before the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Events take place.
James Packer lauds the Abbot government for reaching out to Australia's Asian partners, as it has resulted to a successful free trade agreement with Japan. Next to China, Japan is Australia's second-biggest trade partner and the free trade deal entered into by Prime Ministers Abbot and Shinzō Abe is expected to strengthen the diplomatic and economic ties that bind the two countries. The Aussie business tycoon is hopeful that this could also increase Crown's chances of realizing the planned casino expansion in Japan, in the event that gambling becomes legal in the country.