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Japan’s Efforts to Legalize Casinos Hit a Stumbling Block
- November 6, 2014 By Nemanja L. -
Reuters has learned that the introduction of new gambling bill in Japan could take much longer than expected due to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lacking the needed political support.
The country chief has long ago announced his plans to promote land-based casino establishments as a way of boosting economy growth and he was hoping to pass the new gambling bill in the current parliamentary session that ends in November.
However, Abe’s attempts appears to have been in vain as the latest reports suggest there is no political desire to support his proposal and the new casino legislation could be postponed indefinitely.
The new casino proposal had already been criticized by members of Komeito party as well as the Prime Minister’s own Liberal Democratic Party, who are worried about the prospect of seeing increased number of gambling addictions.
At the same time, the opposition to the proposed gaming legislation pointed to the country’s high rates of problem gamblers, predominantly resulting from the overuse of “pachinko” games.
However, it was the recent incident involving two cabinet ministers who quit over misuse of budget funds that delivered the final blow to Abe and his efforts to legalize casinos in the country.
The Casino Bill Unlikely to be Passed Before 2016
In the light of the latest developments, the Prime Minister and his supporters will not try and hold the vote on the bill in the current session but rather postpone it until further notice, although the sources close to the process have revealed the discussion in the Parliament might not be held even in 2015.
Some of world’s largest gaming companies such as Las Vegas Sands Corp, Caesars Entertainment Corp and MGM Resorts International have hoped the new legislation would grant them an entry into the market believed to be worth $40 billion a year, but it is now clear they will have to wait for few more years.
Shinzo Abe aimed to have at least a couple of high-quality casino resorts in place by the time the 2020 Summer Olympics kick off in Tokyo, but year 2024 is now seen as a more realistic target.
The Prime Minister has lost a key momentum with these latest incidents and he might not even be in the cabinet when Japan residents finally gain access to first casinos.