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Japan Finally Adopts Legalisation Bill

- December 14, 2016 By Oliver Young -

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party is strongly in favour of legalisation.

The bill was passed despite the attempt of the opposition to block it.

There have been few attempts to legalise gambling and casinos in Japan. Many large international casino companies have expressed their intention to invest in Japan if the country legalises gambling and there has been a fair share of lobbying by casino legalisation proponents. Many feel that gambling should be legalised before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as it would give the country a huge revenue boost.

There was one attempt to legalise gambling in Japan in 2014, but it didn’t go through. Legalisation proponents didn’t stop and they working actively in the past few years. It is a known fact that the current Prime Minister Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party are in favour. Some were worried that the coalition party, Komeito might be against the proposal. The issue was raised again this year and it seemed that gambling legalisation is likely to happen.

Tourism Boost Expected

The estimates were that if Japan legalises online gambling, an industry worth about $40 billion a year will be created. Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts were few of the major gambling companies that expressed their interest in the Japanese market.

As it was pretty clear that the legalisation proposal will go through and will be passed by the Japanese Parliament, the shares of the companies that announced their interest went up. The share price of Las Vegas Sands rose by 3%, whereas the increase of the share price of Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts was about 2%.

According to the new law, operators will be allowed to combine casinos with shopping facilities, conference halls, as well as hotels. Japan invests and will invest a great deal of money in the 2020 Olympics and legalising casinos will be a great way to increase tourism revenue after the Olympic Games.

An opinion poll that was conducted by the public broadcasting house showed that only 12% of the Japanese were in favour of the plan and 44% were against. However, a third of the people who took part in the poll were undecided.

Bill Will Be Reviewed by the Lower House

Even though four opposition parties felt that the vote should be postponed, the Japanese House of Councillors passed the proposed casino legalisation bill. The bill was approved on the last day of the plenary session. The opposition parties that were against the plan tried to block the vote with a no-confidence motion against the current Prime Minister, but the motion was overruled and the bill was eventually passed.

Some of opposition members who opposed the bill stated the poll figures and argued that the Government shouldn’t go against the public bill, but LDP lawmakers argued that the proposed plan will be hugely beneficial for the economy and that by legalising casinos Japan will attract up to 40 million tourists per year by 2020.

Now after the bill was passed in the Upper House of the Diet (Japanese Parliament) it will be sent to the Lower House, since under Japanese legislation every bill that is not passed with a convincing majority in the Upper House has to be reviewed by the Lower House.

 

 

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