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Japan to Try Once Again to Legalise Casinos

Japan to Try Once Again to Legalise Casinos

This month a push by gambling groups to legalise casinos in Japan and create an industry worth a predicted $40 billion a year will come to a head.

This week a parliamentary committee will met in Tokyo to discuss the proposal. This is not the first time that casino gambling has been proposed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe but it has always been obstructed by members of Komeito, the ruling party’s main coalition partner.

Later this month there will be an extraordinary Diet session of parliament and it is expected to include a debate on the legislation which would legalise casinos.

In recent months proponents of casino gambling in Japan have gained strength under Prime Minister Abe and there is support from cabinet ministers such as the finance minister Taro Aso. The governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, is also said to be another supporter of casino gambling and the ruling party’s new two-thirds majority in the upper house of Japan’s parliament means that there is now a good chance of legislation passing.

Those in favour of casinos want to see legislation passed so that they could try and open the country’s first casino resort before 2023 to help drive economic revitalisation after the 2020 Olympics.

The pressure is on to pass legislation soon as if the bill is delayed beyond the autumn of 2017 it could fall further down the agenda as the country sets about preparing for the 2020 Olympics.

Some major casino operators, such as Las Vegas Sands, Wynn, Genting and MGM, have invested in promoting the idea of casino gaming in Japan and after more than a decade of lobbying they are likely view this opportunity as the last before they look elsewhere.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.

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