Sands woos Japan with vision for top sports, concert venues

TOKYO — Casino and resorts operator Las Vegas Sands deployed David Beckham and other top sports, music and entertainment figures Wednesday in its effort to woo Japan as it prepares to issue licenses for casinos.

Japan's large and wealthy market is luring big-name casino operators who are sweetening their bids with promises of ultra-modern "integrated resorts." Las Vegas Sands says its plans include top-class concert and sports venues to lure tourists and help revive the country's leisure industry.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. President and COO Robert Goldstein began a news conference in Tokyo by expressing condolences over the shooting Sunday night that left at least 59 people dead.

"Our hearts are very heavy in Las Vegas and we are hoping for the best we can for the future for Las Vegas," Goldstein said.

"Our team there is working with government officials and with the people on the ground in Las Vegas to hope for a speed recovery. It was very difficult and tragic situation," he said.

Gaming industry leaders like Las Vegas Sands, MGM International and Wynn Resorts all have expressed keen interest in Japan, where late last year lawmakers approved a long-awaited law on "integrated resorts" that is the first major hurdle in allowing casinos to set up shop. Further enabling legislation is expected to take several more years.

Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama are among the cities said to be hoping for casino licenses.

Apart from Beckham, who enthused over his love for sea urchin egg, or "uni" sushi, the Sands' charm offensive included Irving Azoff, who has managed musicians such as The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac.

He called to the stage The Eagles' former guitarist Joe Walsh, who said he had loved to play at major Japanese venues such as Tokyo's Budokan over the decades but felt such facilities were not up to par for today's digitally and visually complex performances.

"The logistics to make a good performance in Japan are just too much. It's just too hard," Walsh said. "As an artist that's the way we feel. We feel sad because it's too hard to come here."

Building a state-of-the-art arena and other resort facilities will take billions but will bring in tourists as well as local audiences, said Tim Leiweke, the CEO of Oak View Group and former president and CEO of AEG, which owns Staples Center.

Leiweke, whose company is seeking to remodel Seattle's KeyArena to make it capable of hosting NBA and NHL teams, says he hopes to build an arena in Japan that would be on a par with Madison Square Gardens and attract major sporting events.

"The NBA needs that kind of facilities to make that kind of trip worth it," he said.

You may also like these

Rescuers find bodies after China quake kills 19,...

Aug 9, 2017

Rescuers have gathered bodies amid rubble in an area shaken by a powerful earthquake in mountainous...

New rules, tech are dimming Hong Kong's signature...

Aug 31, 2017

Neon signs advertising shops and nightclubs gave Hong Kong a signature look to match its economic...

China orders Marriott to suspend website, app in...

Jan 12, 2018

Regulators have ordered the Marriott hotel chain to close its China-based website and app for one...

Holidaying frog game finds fans among China's...

Feb 13, 2018

A mobile game starring a vacationing frog has attracted a massive following in China by speaking to...

AP PHOTOS: People in Asia and beyond welcome...

Feb 16, 2018

AP PHOTOS: People in Asia and around the world have been celebrating the Lunar New Year Friday

Sign up now!

About Us

Gempak Media delivers the most talked and gempak stories on the Internet to you. Be the first to know about the latest news and don’t forget to share it around.

Contact us: sales[at]gempakmedia.com

Subscribe Now!