For two decades, Las Vegas billionaires salivated over the idea of casinos in Japan. Arguably, only China holds greater potential than the affluent, gambling-crazy East Asian archipelago.
Tokyo may hate to admit it, but betting -- on pachinko, horses, cycling, speedboats -- has long been among Japan's biggest industries by revenue. Letting Vegas and Macau moguls open green-felt tables in the third-biggest economy is a natural extension of this obsession. Potentially profitable, too, now that Japan's lower house has legalized a market of nearly $16 billion a year.