Hard Rock International launches Hard Rock Japan LLC

(Hard Rock Singapore)

Just under a year ago, we reported that Hard Rock International was looking to quadruple its presence in Asia. Today, one Asian nation just got a big vote of support from the brand. While Hard Rock has had a presence in Japan for more than 30 years, that presence is poised to grow following the launch of a new corporation and CEO in the country. 

Overseen by Edward Tracy as CEO, the new Hard Rock Japan LLC will raise the company's profile in the Land of the Rising Sun, which has six cafes but—so far—no Hard Rock-branded hotels or resorts. 

The move follows on the heels of Japan's new Integrated Resorts Promotion Bill, and Hard Rock is making moves to secure valuable resort licenses. 

”As the former CEO of Sands China Ltd and CEO of the Trump Organization, Tracy brings more than 30 years of proven gaming, hospitality and integrated resort experience to Hard Rock,” Jim Allen chairman of Hard Rock International, said in a statement. “We are confident in Tracy’s ability to lead the company’s efforts in Japan and we look forward to seeing our business continue to grow under his leadership.”

Edward Tracy joined Sands China Ltd, a subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands Corp., in July 2010 as its president and COO, becoming the company CEO in July 2011. Tracy was responsible for the oversight of the country’s largest integrated resort operator by revenue, capacity and content, with 13,000 hotels rooms and 30,000 team members.Prior to Sands, Mr. Tracy served as president and CEO of Capital Gaming, a multi-jurisdictional manager of regional casinos. He also served as president and CEO of the Trump Organization, where he was responsible for managing over 12,500 employees, 3,000 luxury hotel rooms and 240,000 square feet of casino space.

Last year, Daniel Cheng, Hard Rock's SVP of business development, praised the potential of Japan for Hard Rock casino hotels, noting that legislation opening up the country to casinos was likely to pass in the near term. Given Japan’s large population and relative wealth as well as its popularity with mainland Chinese travelers, the country appears to be fertile ground for global gaming. “Japan is the next Macau,” Cheng said at the time. 

In December, Japan’s Parliament passed legislation to allow casinos, but a separate bill for the creation of so-called integrated resorts must be finalized before things move forward. Debates over this issue could mean no casinos in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and Bloomberg says that some insiders are considering blocking Japanese citizens from the casinos.