First Japanese Casino Approved

Published April 29, 2023 by Arthur M

First Japanese Casino Approved

A casino complex has been approved as Japan announces its plan to open its first casino in Osaka by 2029.

After many years of deliberation, Japan has authorised the first casino, with a $13.4 billion site due to open in Osaka by 2029. While gambling is already a popular pastime in the country, this new development will be Japan's first physical casino site.

A Long Road

It's also a very controversial project that has faced challenges from the start, with local and national opposition to the plan. To address these concerns, there will be a fee of 6,000 yen for every 24 hours spent on site, with a percentage going towards gambling addiction measures. Also, family members will have the right to get their relatives banned from the casino and there will be limits on the number of Japanese citizens visiting the complex.

A New Casino for Osaka

Alongside the casino, the project will see shops, entertainment facilities, hotels, a conference center, and spas built on the artificial island of Yumeshima to the west of the city. The Japanese arm of MGM Resorts International and Orix, a financial services company, will run the resort.

According to the local government, up to 15,000 jobs could be created during construction and over the long term. It's predicted that 20 million visitors will use the complex annually, which could boost the local economy to 520 billion yen, with 80% of that income from the casino alone. 

Fumio Kishida, the Japanese Prime Minister, has stated that the project will enhance the whole Osaka region economy and will “become a tourism base that will disseminate the charm of Japan to the world”.

Kishida’s Liberal Democratic party has promoted the development of casinos, and approval to legalise the industry was given in 2016. The Parliament then passed a law to allow the construction of physical casinos. 

Gambling in Japan

The Japanese gambling market is huge, with horse, speedboat, motorcycle and keirin bicycle racing among the most popular sports. The famous Pachinko game is available at over 7,600 sites across the nation. According to the Japan Productivity Centre’s leisure white paper, it's estimated that revenues from Pachinko alone are around 14.6tn yen a year.

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