Caesars Entertainment Wants Musical Acts for Japanese Casino
Caesars Entertainment Corporation plans to mine the Japanese entertainment industry to find performers who would give live performances at a resort-based theater on the grounds of their integrated casino-resort in Japan, if Caesars receives a Japanese casino license. Caesars believes in an “entertainment first” approach for the Japanese casino market, much like the strategy casino companies employ on the Las Vegas Strip.
In an exclusive interview with Asia Gaming Brief, Caesars President of Entertainment, Jason Gastwirth, said his company is in “initial talks” with Japanese talent agencies and entertainment groups to provide entertainers to such a performance theater.
In Las Vegas, Caesars Entertainment uses the “residency system” to bring top performers to their resorts for several performances a week. Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Jennifer Lopez are a few examples of the resident performers Caesars has used in the past.
Now Caesars Entertainment is searching for the counterparts to Celine Dion and Mariah Carey from the Japanese entertainment industry.
Small Entertainment Venues
The residency system allows top musical artists to perform in smaller venues of between 4,000 to 5,000 concert goers. This provides a more intimate setting for the performances than are used in concert tours, which typically involve larger areas of 5 to 10 times the number of spectators.
Gastwirth told Asia Gaming Brief that “entertainment is the leading driver of trips to Las Vegas” and suggested that Caesars plans to create a similar dynamic in its potential Japan casino. The plan, said Gastwirth, is to create “a true destination resort“.
Las Vegas Shows & Attractions
The Las Vegas Strip has been a centerpiece for American musical talents since the 1950s and 1960s, when the Rat Pack and Elvis Presley were main attractions. Since that time, A-list American musicians have made Vegas shows a part of their repertoire.
From the 1990s forward, Las Vegas shows have become a bigger part of the city’s revenue stream. Comedians have long been a staple of Las Vegas casino acts, but shows like Sigfried & Roy and the various Cirque du Soleil shows became world famous. These days, 60% of Las Vegas Strip revenues come from non-gaming attractions, including shopping, restaurants, nightclubs, exhibitions, and shows.
Japanese Integrated Resort Entertainment
Caesars Entertainment believes Japanese integrated casino-resorts could boast similar attractions. If anything, Japanese musical artists are more marketable than their American counterparts. Visiting a smaller concert setting for a more personal entertainment experience from a much-loved performer would help make a casino visit more memorable and entertaining.
The arena could host more than musical acts. While Caesars Entertainment is not familiar enough with the Japanese entertainment industry to give solid examples at the moment, Jason Gastwirth said Caesars is exploring other possibilities for entertainment in the small venues — including sporting events.
Jason Gastwirth said, “We’re trying to think through what’s going to be the type of programming that’s going to support that future.”
Competition for Japanese Casino Licenses
Each potential Japanese casino license holder is pitching its vision for the future of integrated resorts in the island nation. Caesars Entertainment wants to build an integrated entertainment complex. Melco Entertainment built the MelGuard System, which is designed to heighten Japanese authorities’ attempts to stem the tide of problem gambling. Las Vegas Sands wants to build an integrated resort so grand and remarkable that tourists view it as a landmark, much like the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
Starting this summer, each of the global gaming companies vying for an integrated resort in Japan will submit a plan to the country’s officials. By early next year, 2 to 3 casino licenses will be approved. As many as 6 licenses eventually could be given to developers, though additional casinos would be developed in a second stage.
While one might suppose that Caesars’ approach is just another sales job, it is much in keeping with the idea behind an integrated resort. Integrated resorts are designed to provide attractions for an entire family. Gamblers in the family enjoy the casino, while non-gamblers can shop, dine, or visit clubs. Families visit museums, exhibits, theaters, and theme parks — depending on the venue. All visitors enjoy live entertainment involving music, comedy, performance art, or sporting events.
One must remember that Japan’s Diet called their casino laws the Integrated Resort Bill and Integrated Resort Implementation Bill. Japanese lawmakers were uninterested in gambling resorts, so much as destination resorts that will attract more tourists to Japan. According to one recent report, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government believes integrated casino-resorts could double tourism to Japan — all the way to 60 billion visitors a year.