Japan, one step closer to casino legalisation

A bill to legalise casinos in Japan passed the Lower Committee for the first time.

Japan.- A Lower House Committee approved a vill that paves the way to legalise casinos in Japan for the first time, even though it goes against public approval. The bill that’s backed by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saw the green light after the Buddhist party Komeito changed its opposition at the Diet panel.

The bill was backed by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who said that the casino industry could boost the regional economies through tourism. “It’s fundamental that the profits from casino facilities are returned to society,” said Hiroyuki Hosoda, Chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s general council and head of a crossparty group of pro-casino lawmakers, earlier this week.

The Liberal Democratic Party is expecting a Lower House plenary session vote as early as next Tuesday, where they should find the same level of opposition that they faced earlier today. Secretary general of the party, Toshihiro Nikai, said: “We do not plan to scrap the bill for now; so it is only natural for us to try to enact the bill by the end of the session.” The party is confident that they can build a positive platform in order to pass the bill by the session’s closure on December 14.

If the parliament passes the bill before December 14, a further bill setting rules for operators would need to be approved in order to allow the facilities to begin construction work. It is estimated that the Gross Gaming Revenue would exceed US$10 billion from the get-go countrywide. Takeshi Iwaya, part of the Liberal Democratic Party, said that Japanese traditions or cultures are a key to keeping their version of casinos internationally competitive.