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Casino Legalisation Debate in the Japanese Parliament
- November 30, 2016 By Oliver Young -
This is a very interesting time for the casino industry in Asia. While China and its administration are doing all they can to prevent gambling and gambling-related marketing, including arresting people associated with a casino group, Japan has been considering the option of legalising gambling on its territory. It is not the first time that this administration is contemplating that.
Earlier this year we reported that the proponents of online gambling are optimistic about the possibility of success, now it seems that gambling might be legalised even sooner that it was initially expected. If everything goes according to plan, gambling might be legalized before the end of the year.
The Main Ruling Party in Favour of Legalisation
The proposal has already entered the Parliament and the debate started. Japanese lawmakers discussed the idea and it is already common knowledge that the Liberal Democratic Party of the Prime Minister Abe will have to secure the support of their partner the pro-Buddhist Komeito Party whose approach has been more reserved.
Representatives of Komeito said that they have not yet reached a decision on what will be the party’s stance on gambling. The opposition boycotted the session, as their MPs are strongly against gambling legalisation.
The head of the cross-party casino group and one of the key members of the LDP, Hosoda said that the establishment of casino reports in the country will support tourism and thus benefit the regional economies throughout Japan. He added that part of the profit should be returned to society.
Japan is one of the few prosperous countries where casinos are banned altogether, even though betting on boat, bicycle and horse-racing is legal in the country. With the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 fast approaching, Japan is keen on legalising casinos in order to boost profits.
A representative of one of the largest casino groups in Asia said that all eyes are on Japan now and that it seems that the country is finally moving forward. Many companies have already expressed their interest and some claim that Japan could turn into one of the largest gambling hubs in Asia.
It Could Be Done before 2017
The bill was submitted as early as April 2015, but there were either issues that were more prioritised and the debate on the casino bill was postponed. Now, the main question is whether the law will be passed in the current parliamentary session which is supposed to end on December 14.
If this bill is passed, there will be a subsequent one which will specify the regulations for opening resorts and that bill will have to be passed before anyone can start building a casino resort in the country.
Japanese media report that the Liberal Democratic Party will make an attempt to pass the bill on December 6. If they manage to do that the bill will go to the second, upper chamber of the Japanese Parliament.
There are provisions in the law that address the ethical issues and it is stated that the Government would have to specify the rules under which Japanese citizens may or may not enter casinos in the country. A study conducted in 2014 concluded that about 5% of Japanese are gambling addicts.