TOKYO -- Las Vegas Sands, the world's largest gambling company by market value, said it's ready to invest $10 billion in Japan, projected to be Asia's second-largest casino market.
"We will spend whatever it takes," billionaire Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson said at a media briefing in Tokyo. "We could pay all cash. We don't have to, but we will borrow money in a typical mortgage-to-value ratio."
Sands is opening offices and hiring in Japan, said Adelson, who's attending a conference on investing in Japan on Monday. The company would also consider working with a local partner that could make more than a financial contribution, he said, without elaborating or naming any companies.
While betting on horse, boat and bicycle races is allowed in the world's third-largest economy, casinos are currently banned. Its potential as a gambling market has drawn the interest of Sands, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd. After a decade of discussions by politicians, Tokyo's selection to host the 2020 Olympic Games has boosted confidence that a law legalizing casinos will be passed.
Union Gaming Group estimates Japan's casino market will generate $10 billion in annual revenue, making it Asia's second biggest, trailing the southern Chinese city of Macau. The former Portuguese colony, the only place in China where casinos are legal, had $45.2 billion casino gaming revenue in 2013, seven times that of the Las Vegas Strip.