Japan’s Lower House Passes Bill Legalising Casinos
This week Japan took a major step towards legalising casino gambling. The parliament’s lower house passed a bill which opens the way for casinos and sent it to the upper house for review.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping that casinos will help to boost tourism and he has said that he hopes to enact the bill before the current parliament session ends next week.
The bill won’t legalise casinos immediately, it calls on regulators to develop specific plans on issues such as licensing operators and preventing gambling addicts from using the casinos. Parliament would then have to approve final legislation before casino companies could begin to develop their properties.
Those behind the bill say that they hope that casinos could open in the early 2020s after the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
At present Japan allows other forms of gambling such as lotteries and horse race betting. Mr Abe has been trying to legalise casinos since he took power in December 2012 as part of his strategy to put the nation on a growth track. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of Singapore whose casinos are a huge draw.
Of course the move is opposed with people claiming that casinos will encourage criminal activity and worsen the nation’s gambling-addiction problem. Furthermore, polls show that a majority of Japanese oppose casinos.
However, the bill has the backing of major international companies such as MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts and they will be keeping a keen eye on the upper house of parliament next week.