An eagerly anticipated bill to legalize land-based casinos is about to be approved in Japan.
While Japan remains one of the few Asian countries where casinos have been banned by law (Criminal Code Chapter 23), there are few exceptions. Gambling in terms of slot machines and the pinball-like game of pachinko and, wagering on horse, boat, and bicycle racing has been legal all along.
Many of the world’s casino operators waited for the Japanese pro-gaming lawmakers to make the first move on opening the doors to legal casino gambling in the country.
The waiting will soon be over
Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party along with its confederate partner, Komeito, began discussions November last year to introduce a bill focused on responsible casino gambling. Next in order, they approved on December the 8th 2016 the law on integrated resorts, which basically allows the settlement of the first casinos in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Further, Abe’s ruling LDP has now the majority in both parliament houses and no longer needs Komeito to pass the Bill.
The Bill’s aim is to promote a highly attractive tourism business in Japan, by creating new jobs and tax revenues to central and local governments.
Both central and local authorities will be pushed to actively promote responsible gambling and the right policy for integrated resorts to prevent this type of compulsive gambling is expected. The integrated resorts will be the caption of Japan’s expansion tactic, which will incorporate casino-hotels, convention space, theme parks and shopping malls.
Along with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, due to the new legislative act, casinos will soon become an incentive for economic growth in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is himself a big advocate of legalizing and regulating casinos in the Land of the Rising Sun, suggesting it will bring massive economic profits.
Authorities claim that revenues will reach up to $10 billion countrywide every year, while the experts say casinos will increase tourism, hoping for many visitors from China to come in the first place.
Moreover, by 2020, this new action will draw 40 million inbound wealthier travelers annually. If the Bill passes, then every major player from the casino industry is expected to lay a wager here.
It is believed the Bill will be put forward during an extraordinary legislative session. The Government also anticipates the new legislative order will be voted on for approval this fall, although casinos will probably not operate before the beginning of 2020.
Fitch Ratings, a credit rating agency stated that the new plan won’t influence the multi-billion-dollar casino businesses in the Asia-Pacific region.
While the casinos might bring a substantial financial growth that will draw attention to Japan, the clear majority of the public remains strongly opposed to the legalization of casinos, inasmuch as the fear of compulsive gambling interfering.
The government will also take measures to introduce a safe gambling environment statute that will focus towards players’ needs. The Bill also aims to modify the legal requirements of the pachinko and horse racing that already take place on Japanese soil.
Some of the biggest casino operators on Earth have also expressed their interest while seeing a bright future in settling a presence in Japan.
Global casino operators such as Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International have considered investing in Japan and now fight to win the rights to operate in the country.
As far as the locations where the new casino resorts will be assembled are concerned, Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Fukuoka, and Nagasaki are amongst potential venues for the first built casino resorts.
According to industry experts, more gaming companies are expected to want a slice of the cake and it is believed the Asian gambling market might get a bit soaked.
Let’s look at it this way: legalizing casino gambling will prove to be very valuable to the national economy.