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Japanese Casino Bill May Suffer Further Delays

Gambling in Japan roulette flag

The Japanese Casino Bill is still struggling to get passed

Japan is the most advanced country that doesn’t legalize gambling. Well known to US gambling news is the potential Japan has for gambling supremacy and as a result some big hotel players such as Wynn Resorts are queued up to invest in infrastructure. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that Japan’s national debt will triple by the end of 2030. With the country’s debt making up 245 percent of its annual gross domestic product (GDP), the need to produce revenue is urgent.


● The Casino Bill was resubmitted to the Japanese Congress in April
● CIMB Securities analysts reported the bill had a 70 percent chance to be passed
● Japanese casinos would help stabilize the Asian market while avoiding saturation

Logically with debt that equates to about USD 11 quadrillion in debt, one would think Japan would be move a bill to legalize gambling as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the Promotional Integrated Resorts Bill or the Japanese Casino Bill has seen rough days as it went through a first submission in 2010 and went through another submission in April of 2015. If the bill passes, Japan might become the third largest nation for gambling in the World. Some analysts say that Komeito party support could salvage the bill.

Japanese Casino Bill experiences a resubmission in April

Japanese National Assembly Diet Tokyo

The National Diet will have to come to some conclusion by the end of September

Local Japanese media reported that the re-submission of the Japanese Casino Bill was backed by the usual members of Prime Minister Abe’s Party, the Party for Future Generations and the Japan Innovation Party. CIMB Securities Ltd. Analysts were supposedly told in a meeting with a Japanese Lawmaker in May that the bill had a 70 percent chance of passing the extended Diet session.

The Casino Bill has yet to be voted on. Although the cabinet had until the end of June to make the decision, an extension until September 27th was given in order to consider important matters. Once again analysts are re-predicting that the bill might be postponed again since it has already suffered from so many delays. CIMB experts predicted that Japan may not get their casinos up and running until 2022 at the earliest.

Since the tenders for required paper enforced by Japanese gambling laws will take time to actualize, Japan is sure not to have casinos in time for its 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo as Abe’s coalition had hoped. The Asian brokerage firm CLSA estimated that casinos in Japan could generate more than USD 40 billion annually. During the time the bill has been delayed, Las Vegas Sands Corp and MGM Resorts International have expressed interests in investing in Japan’s untapped casino market.

The American Gaming Association (AGA), a major US lobbying body, met with Japanese government members and briefed them on the benefits of untapping Japan’s casino market. AGA representatives also went to Tokyo to have a roundtable discussion which paid considerable attention to casino’s economic benefits, preventing money laundering and promoting responsible gambling.

Gambling Commission Steadfast in Decision

Keirin Japanese bicycle race

A selection of so called “public sports” can be bet on in Japan

Currently Japan has legalized betting on what the government calls “public sports.” These sports, which include cycling, motorcycling, motor boating and horse racing, account for more than USD 3.4 billion in 2010 according to official reports. Pachinko, a cross between pinball and slot machines, is a national epidemic that takes in yearly amounts of between USD 161 and 241 billion.

Japan’s addition of casinos to their country will definitely help global casino markets. A reputable firm found that the three main issues that should be of concern to casino growth are revenues generated on mass, VIP gambling markets and the capital returns to shareholders. According to worldwide statistics, out of the USD 423 billion in global casino revenue, lotteries made up 35 percent, online gambling 9 percent while the remainder came from brick and mortar casinos.

In 2014, U.S. casinos generated the most revenue with USD 67 billion, Asian and Australian following with USD 61 billion and other countries with a combined sum of USD 18 billion. Although this seems to show some improvement from the year before, market analysts claim that the casino industry still needs to contend with other factors such as attracting more mass market players, less dependency on the VIP markets and more shareholder confidence towards gaming companies.

The passing of the Japanese Casino Bill would provide Asia with new gambling casinos and resorts which investors claim players would be the most attracted to. Japanese casinos will emerge and avoid market experts’ fears of an “oversaturated” market. Since Macau and Singapore’s widespread corruption is the reason for its economic problems in Asia, perhaps Japan’s new casinos would work as a counterbalance and further stabilize Asian markets. Such a result would clearly make Japanese gambling news.

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