Japan Ready for Another Push Towards Casino Legislation

Published September 21, 2016 by Ivan P

Japan Ready for Another Push Towards Casino Legislation

Japan is ready for another push to try and legalize casinos in the country, with Shinzo Abe's party finally holding a majority in the Diet.

The issue of legalizing casinos in Japan has been around for quite a while now. With two strong political streams each pulling in opposite direction, there hasn't been a consensus on casino legislation up to this point. But, Japan is not ready to throw in the towel just yet.

Latest Attempt to Legalize Casinos in Japan

This week should see a meeting of the parliamentary committee tackling the legislation issue once again. The proposal, created by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is just latest in the series of attempts to kick start the industry valued at $40 billion a year.

Thus fur, legislation efforts have mostly been obstructed by the Komiteo, the main coalition partner of Abe's party. However, earlier this year, for the first time since 1989, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party has managed to obtain a majority in the Diet (Japanese Parliament), meaning that they should be able to push the legislation through even without support from the Komiteo.

Last Chance in a While?

In 2013, when Tokyo was awarded 2020 Olympic Games, many believed that casino legislation would come through in time to take advantage of the tourist influx to the country. However, as the things stand right now, the soonest Japan could expect to see new casinos is 2023, which could help recover the economy after the games.

However, this is all dependent on the legislation, known as Integrated Resort (IR) proposal being adopted in time. Experts believe that there is approximately one-year window of opportunity for the casino legislation to be passed in the Diet. If the law is not passed by the autumn of 2017, there is a real risk that the proposal will simply get lost in the shuffle as more pressing things in lieu of the upcoming Olympic Games take over.

A number of big casinos like the MGM, Las Vegas Sands, and Wynn, have been lobbying for the legislation for nearly a decade now and they probably see this as the last train as well, before they pack up and turn towards other, less complicated opportunities.

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