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Land-based casinos coming to Japan
Japan is looking to legalize casinos and offer regulated gambling in the country, with the draft bill recently being approved by the Liberal Democratic Party. There were some concerns regarding the December 6 deadline, when the parliament session ends for the year, but the draft bill made it in time. This shows that the lawmakers are treating the subject with a great deal of importance and the legalization of casinos in Japan can provide a substantial flux of revenue to the country.
The head of the transport panel of the party, Ryosel Akazawa, has been placed in charge of seeing the bill through the process and has done a good job thus far. The next step is now to present the bill in front of the policy panel in order to get the official green light. The road will still be long even if the ruling party approves as the legislation will then have to go through the parliament and get the approval of the junior coalition partner New Komeito and the LDP.
As far as the New Komeito side is concerned, its leader has expressed some skepticism regarding the legislature and its chances of passing in the current parliament. Neither of the two parties has yet agreed to the bill and while this can delay the process enough to cancel it for this year, the decision is mostly up to New Komeito now and it remains to be seen what it will be.
Both sides seem to take their time with it as it is a major decision to make but there is a deadline approaching and that can’t be ignored. Even if it doesn’t pass to parliament by the end of the session, it will probably do so in January when a new session begins.
Casino operators already lining up
A casino industry in Japan can be very profitable given the increase in gambling desire in the area, combined with the lack of options. Some major casino operators have already presented their plans to build facilities in Japan if they get picked by the regulators and approved in the country. Representatives from the MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts have all held presentations in Tokyo recently for the chance to be part of the market which is estimated to be worth $10b-$15b in annual revenue. This would make it the second largest gambling market in the world, after Macau, so it is easy to see why so many firms are already showing their interest.
Tokyo and Osaka will be the main targets but the issue regarding actually passing the legislature is still in the air.
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