Could Japan be about to Legalise Casinos?
A bill to legalise casino gambling in Japan will be resubmitted in the hope of raising an estimated US$40 billion a year in revenue. Gambling is generally illegal in the country, with notable exceptions including lotteries which raise money for local and national governments and wagering on certain sports. However, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is behind the push for the creation of ‘integrated resorts’ featuring casinos, which would contribute towards economic growth.
The bill previously failed due to worries over the possibility of it encouraging problem gambling and negatively affecting communities. Those who support the campaign, including Liberal Democrat Takeshi Iwaya, have decided to submit the bill again on the last day of the financial year in order to allow any local government which would consider taking advantage of the law to continue to fund research during the 2015-16 fiscal year.
Brokerage and investment group CLSA issued a report in 2014 into the potential for the market in Japan under the title ‘It’s Raining Yen!’. The company quoted the US$40 billion figure and claimed that Japan could soon rival the Chinese city of Macau, which recently overtook Las Vegas as the casino capital of the world.
Yokohama and Osaka are said to be the most likely cities to introduce casinos first should the bill be passed, with supporters hoping to see integrated resorts up and running in time for the beginning of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
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