Wynn and Aruze to organize a casino seminar in Japan

Wynn Resorts and Aruze Corp. will promote the potential of casinos in Japan at a seminar to be hel next September 11, as the companies seek to open the gambling market of the world’s second-biggest economy.

Ronald Kramer, President of the Las Vegas-based casino company founded by billionaire Steve Wynn, will speak at the Tokyo seminar with Aruze CEO Kunihiko Yogo, according to a statement faxed from Tokyo-based Aruze to Bloomberg News.

Wynn and Aruze, a pachinko-machine maker, are stepping up lobbying efforts to obtain a casino license should Japan open the market. The government is considering legislation that could be approved within the next 12 months.

“Casinos have the potential to be a very, very successful industry in Japan,’’ said Jay Defibaugh, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group in Tokyo. They look set to become “a reality,’’ he said. Aruze Chairman Kazuo Okada said in an August 2 interview that he and Wynn would submit a joint bid to operate casinos in Japan if they’re legalized.

Gambling on pachinko machines, a pinball-like game played for prizes, is a major pastime in Japan. Revenue from pachinko totaled USD 248 billion in 2005 with 17.1 million people playing the game, according to the government’s Leisure White Paper.

Japanese government may look at Singapore as a model for legalizing the industry. The Singapore government awarded two casino licenses last year to attract overseas tourists and create jobs. Legislation is unlikely to pass Japan’s parliament before late 2008, Defibaugh said. The proposal would likely gain the support of government lawmakers as it would provide a new source of tax revenue, he said.

Aruze’s shares rose 3.7 percent to 4,250 yen in Tokyo, taking their increase this year to 24 percent. Meanwhile, Wynn Resorts this month reported second-quarter profit of USD 89.6 million, exceeding analysts’ estimates, after it opened a new casino in Macau, China.

Aruze is the biggest shareholder in Wynn Resorts with a 22.3 percent stake, followed by Steve Wynn with 21.8 percent, according to Bloomberg data.