On Tuesday the lower house passed a bill for a Japanese gambling law review and to consider legalization. There are hopes the bill can be enacted before the current session of Parliament ends next week.
Japanese Gambling Law Review
A Japanese law review has recently taken place but the opportunity to have a new bill passed failed because it was not put to a vote on time. Following Tuesdays action, if the bill is enacted, regulators can develop plans for final legislation to be passed. This is a major step towards legalising gambling in Japan.
Politically the new gambling bill is controversial. Although Minister Abe representing the Liberal Democratic Party, has been promoting legalised gambling there is a divided coalition government. The Komeito, the main coalition partner are against legalizing gambling because they say it may cause gambling addiction and other social problems in Japan.
There is belief amongst politicians that the new gambling bill has a small chance of being passed due to divisions in the coalition party. A failed vote leaves gambling in Japan open to abuse by the Yakusa, mobsters who control illegal underground gambling. Notably, failure of the bill prevent better controls and a revenue stream to the Japanese Government. The biggest plus factors for legalizing gambling are control and taxation. Read more about Japanese Gambling Laws. A state of controversy now exists following a gambling law review.
There are some very good reasons for changing the law and legalizing gambling. It will bring growth and wealth to the country from cross border gambling tourists. International casino operators have already been lining up to do business with Japan.
Ministerial talks have already been held with Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Genting International Resorts in Singapore has also made it known they are ready to invest in Japan if the bill is passed.
It is with good reason that these large casino operators are interested in entry into a Japanese gambling market. Analysts have already predicted that the business could be worth 40 million dollars a year. It that is true it would mean that the gambling market would be 40% larger than that of Macau. Those figure will be including foreign visitors but we do not know what those predictions are.
The Japanese home market also presents a major opportunity for investors. There are 126 million Japanese of which almost 40% are demographically target-able.
Sentiment for legalizing gambling does seem to be growing but there is a long way to go before the new bill gets a vote. We are all waiting to see if the world is to get another gambling hub. Eyes will be drawn towards the success of Las Vegas and Macau as Meccas for gambling. That kind of success could bring wealth to an ailing Japanese economy.
Tokyo is to host the Olympic games on 2020 and there is added pressure to get the bill passed quickly. That is so that revenues could help fund the investment required for the games. There are fears that it may already be too late.
Update: On 15th December 2016 Japan enacted a bill to legalise casino gambling throughout Japan. Japanese gambling law has been changed.
Read more about gambling laws in other countries.
Read more about gambling laws in other Asian Countries: