Will Gambling Be Legalized in Japan?
It seems that legal gambling might become a reality in Japan. Until now, only pachinko and betting on horses, boat races and bicycles, have been allowed.
Today, the Parliament started the debate on a bill for the legalization of casinos in the country.
In December last year, a bill was submitted by a cross-party group of lawmakers to parliament.
According to Economy Minister Akira Amari, this bill should get sufficient votes to pass but will not be approved before the end of the session which is only on the 22nd of June.
Those in favor of legalizing casinos in Japan have emphasized the positive impact it will have on the country and are hoping this bill will be passed by next year already.
Casinos could create a boost in tourism since Japan is preparing to host the Olympics in 2020. Furthermore, casino operators will invest billions of dollars in ‘integrated resorts’, making Japan the second-largest gaming market after Macau, with revenues of over $40 billion a year.
In response to the latest talks in Parliament, shares of those companies in Japan which will benefit from legalized gambling in the country surged. Shares of Konami Corp., a game-maker, rose 2.1%, while the shares of Japan Cash Machine Co., rose 8.4%.
In a strategy document on economic growth which was released on the 16th of June, the government stated that measures would need to be put into place to prevent crime and gambling addiction.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has sufficient backing from opposition parties to pass the bill in both houses. Meanwhile, New Komeito who is the LDP’s junior coalition partner, is divided on the issue.
Melco Crown Entertainment and Las Vegas Sands are already in line to try and win the first licenses which will allow them to operate casinos in Japan.