Japan Finally Legalizes Casino GamblingDecember 15, 2016 10:52 am
It has been many years in the coming, but after several unsuccessful attempts Japan’s two houses of parliament have finally passed a bill allowing casino gambling in the country of 127 million people. According to estimates produced by the Daiwa Research Institute, just permitting three casinos to be built could help contribute around $10 billion in revenues to the Japanese economy, while for a fully developed industry that figure could rise up to around $40 billion.
Earlier this month, Japan’s lower house of parliament voted in favor of a casino bill that was presented to it. On Thursday, Japan’s upper house subsequently followed suit, with the move receiving the full backing of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who sees casino gambling as an important means of giving the country’s tourism industry and overall economy a much-needed boost.
Following its passage through both houses of parliament, the government will have 12 months to prepare a framework for the IR Bill, including laying down the grounds for a licensing regime, as well as putting in place measures to protect problem gamblers. If all goes smoothly, then Japan’s first mega-resort casino, complete with hotels, shopping and entertainment venues, could be ready to open for business by 2023.
Amongst the international casino operators hoping to get in on the action is Las Vegas Sands and MGM, both of which have said that they would invest $10 billion each in a future Japanese casino market. Following the recent positive parliamentary votes, an MGM statement stated that the company’s development team was currently exploring the country’s cultural and business communities, meaning MGM Resorts was now in a unique position to take advantage of any future expansion plans.
“After years of study in the region, we believe the opportunity exists to drive significant growth in sustainable travel and tourism, particularly from international segments, along with the creation of thousands of jobs and long-term economic benefit,” explained MGM.