Local and Regional Government Welcome Gaming to Japan

Published July 26, 2018 by Lee R

Local and Regional Government Welcome Gaming to Japan

Japan’s citizens will be protected, and tourism will be stimulated as the goals of new gaming regulation in Japan ushered in by new legislation.

Japan regulation is moving forward, providing an important partner for global iGaming and particularly the States from the lucrative pan-Pacific Asian region.

The New Bill

The news comes in the form of a new piece of legislation passed by the Japanese parliament last Friday outlining how the casino market would be managed. 

The bill was offered on the heels of an earlier bill from late 2016 which initiated the process with a new law approving three Las Vegas-style casinos at an unspecified future date.   

Big Market

Japan still remains a major economy on the global profile, and estimates have the Japanese gaming market worth up to $25 billion annually.

Strong US Interest

The U.S. casino industry is worth over $70 billion per year, with top American casino firms such as MGM Resorts and Las Vegas Sands reportedly prepared to enter the Japanese market.  

The new regulation model movement law has been lauded by the American Gaming Association as “a giant step toward strengthening its economy, attracting international travellers and implementing stringent gaming regulation that protects consumers and eliminates criminal activity."

Looking forward, the AGA further cited the resulting community benefits in Japan to include Integrated Resort IR related benefits that have already been seen in other “major destinations around the globe,” while asserting a commitment from American soil to support the achievement of social goals in Japan through iGaming by “partner(ing) with the governments and people of Japan to build a world class gaming market.”

Tourism Outreach

Japan is reportedly in search of solutions for increasing tourism, with the Wall Street journal reporting that Japan is seeking to grow its annual tourism industry to 60 million by the year 2030 which would double last year’s 30 million.

Protecting Citizens

To protect against addiction, the law calls for a roughly $50 entrance fee for Japanese residents, and a limit of 10 casino visits per four weeks, with foreign visitors exempt. 

Taxation System

As far as taxation, Japanese casinos pay 30 percent of their gambling winnings to the government. In a further commitment to the IR approach, the government plans to impose a limit on percentage of gaming floors of any premises at no more than three percent.

The Bill’s Path

Backed by a rare Parliamentary alliance between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition and the opposition Japan Innovation Party, the bill was enacted after passage by the upper house, after earlier clearing the lower house.

Initial Implementation

The law will initially open three IRs, allowing for them to include international conference halls, exhibition facilities and hotels in addition to casinos.

Seven years after the location of the nation's first IR is designated, expansion will become possible through a review of the number of locations where IRs can be established.


The law will see controversy in allowing gaming in the country, but seems to have been effectively constructed to position for commensurate gains and community contributions through the alternative uses which IR’s are mandated to include. With local governments already expressing interest in hosting IR’s, there will be no shortage of new locations available as well. 

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