Japan Gaming Congress

2019 May 16-17
Conrad Tokyo, Japan


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Japan Gaming Congress

01 Apr 2019

5 minutes with Brendan Bussman, Director of Government Affairs, GMA

Sadie Walters

In the lead up to Japan Gaming Congress, we catch up with Brandan Bussman, Director of Government Affairs, GMA.

Brendan is a seasoned executive, with an extensive background in government affairs, political analysis, communications, and business development in the sectors of hospitality, healthcare, energy, higher education, and sports in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.


  • What do you predict to be biggest policy outcomes of the next 3 months?

As Japan works through the next policy steps, it will be imperative that gaming experts and operators help guide the process as the Japanese form the Control Commission that will serve as the governing board of the future IR operators, the structure and components that will be necessary for a successful bid, and the process in which up to three successful bids will be selected.  A thoughtful discussion needs to continue amongst stakeholders to create the most robust market possible in the framework that was outlined through the IR Implementation Law.  This hopefully will enable all interested cities and prefectures to compete in driving additional tourism and economic investment into these areas of the country. 


  • What challenges still remain in the way of commercial progression, and Integrated Resort’ becoming a reality?

Some of the biggest challenges that we continue to hear from numerous stakeholders in the market include the existing gaming tax rate and the potential impact of the consumption tax.  However, the financing of a Japan Integrated Resort under a limited license window will be one of the larger hurdles for operators and financiers to work through as prefectures and cities look to partner with operators in their overall bids.  While the market opportunity is great, only the operators that can navigate these waters, develop a solid program within the facility, execute a robust business plan, and solidify partnerships will be the winners at the end of the race. 


  • How is the current relationship between government, prefectures & operators impacting the timeline of progress?

While I know there is a desire by some stakeholders to move as quickly as possible, the selection process in any jurisdiction will take time to select the right locations, as well as the right operator for those locations.Japan has the opportunity to set new standards for IRs, which has not been done since Singapore.After the elections, the process will start to emerge more definitively, and by this time next year, we will see cities and prefectures engaging in an RFP to select their partner.It will likely not be until 2021 at the earliest before the final operators are selected, with IRs likely not opening until 2025/2026.


  • Why should people go to JGC?

This year’s JgC will be an opportunity for engagement and collaboration between both Japanese and international stakeholders and will allow for a continued and thoughtful conversation on the market opportunity.Attendees will be able to learn more from experts in the Diet, Tourism Ministry, and other government entities on the framework and desire to drive additional visitors to Japan.They will also learn from the expertise of some of the international leaders in entertainment, food & beverage, MICE, and other non-gaming amenities that will be critical components to the Japan IR.


  • What is your objective at JGC?

JgC has always been a great opportunity to connect with stakeholders that have a strong interest in the success of the Japan market.JgC is a fantastic event for individuals to network, share thoughts, and find additional opportunities to partner together in what will be one of the top gaming markets in the world.


Hear from Brendan and a long list of other key industry speakers at JgC 2019. Register here



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