Casino legislation re-enacted in Japan’s political environment

Game analysts believe Japan is well positioned to benefit from legalizing the casino industry, and Union Gaming analyst Grant Goberson confirmed that recent changes in Japan’s political environment have made the casino bill a 50 percent chance of being passed.

It comes after Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party won its first majority in two houses in more than 25 years, securing the necessary 50+1 votes after an independent member of the upper house joined the party. This means that the LDP no longer needs to approve legislation to any party, including its coalition partner, New Komeito.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his party have been in favor of legalizing the casino industry, but in the past they did not get the necessary votes. It is not clear at the moment when the casino bill will be reviewed, as it depends on the prime minister’s priorities. His immediate plan is to improve the economy and review the Constitution.

“The game bill (aka the ‘IR bill’) can now be easily passed, but the decisive factor is that Abe puts the game on the priority ladder,” Govtsen said in a statement.

The bill to legalize casinos in Japan is also called the Resort Integration (IR) Bill. The first step to legalize the casino industry is to pass an IR promotion bill to lift the ban on casino gambling, and the second step is to introduce an IR enforcement bill that outlines regulations for the development of domestic casino resorts. If Japan decides to pass the IR bill, two mega casino licenses are expected to be issued in the early stages.

The first license is for IR in Tokyo and the second license is for IR in Osaka. Licenses for small casinos in places like Hokkaido will be issued later. If the IR legislative process goes smoothly, development could begin in 2019 or 2020 and open its first integrated casino resort in Japan by 2022. The two main competitors for this mega license will be Sega Sammy and the local company of Universal Entertainment.

Currently, Sega Sammy is developing Paradise City in Incheon, Korea, and Universal Entertainment of Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada is developing Okada Manila Resort in the Philippines, and six large casino developers in Macau and Genting Singapore are also likely to bid for a mega casino license

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