Japan lawmakers reopened debate to legalise casinos

There is a possibility that the legislation will be passed next month.

Japan.- Japanese lawmakers reopened the debate on a bill to allow the legalisation of casinos in the country, and they opened the possibility that the suggested legislation could be passed mid December.

The Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that in order to pass the legislation he needs the support of the Buddhist Komeito, who is not all up the idea for moral and ethical issues, but his party said that they still haven’t decided if they will support the bill or not. Chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s general council and head of a crossparty group of pro-casino lawmakers, Hiroyuki Hosoda, 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,” he added.

Lawrence Ho, chief executive officer of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, said: ”The Japan legislation seems like it’s finally going forward. I personally have been lobbying it for many, many years. We would be extremely interested and will definitely participate in it, if we are lucky to.” According to Bloomberg, 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. Kyoto reported that the Liberal Democratic Party is seeking to pass the bill during a session of the lower house on December 6, so it can move to the upper chamber.

According to CLSA analysts calculations, the Gross Gaming Revenue would exceed US$10 billion from the get-go countrywide. However, they consider that the law would not be implemented by late 2023, after the Japanese Olympics. Analysts Jon Oh and Jay Defibaugh said: “Japan’s existing gambling market is already US$27 billion in GGR, mainly pachinko. Thus we believe that Japan’s gaming market could easily exceed US$10 billion in GGR for the metropolitan city IRs alone, with a potential to exceed US$30 billion upon full completion of the regional roll-outs. Yokohama (adjacent to Tokyo) and Yumeshima (adjacent to Osaka) metropolitans are the most likely locations, in our view.”