The anomalous Japanese gambling scene may soon become clearer if the proponents of gambling liberalization get their way.
Although most forms of gambling are strictly prohibited under current Japanese gambling laws, the country is teeming with pachinko parlors. These are categorized as “amusement” instead of “gambling”, even though players can win money through a tricky setup.
It is also illegal to bet on sports in Japan. Except for the four “public sports”, which are horse, motorboat, bicycle and motorcycle racing.
And of course the country has a lottery as well.
Opponents of course argue that legalization will lead to more crime and other vices, but this argument rings a bit hollow considering that most of the pachinko parlors are already run by organized crime. In fact, illegal gambling of any sorts is a hotbed for criminal activity.
Taking into account the reality of the Japanese gambling scene and the economic factors, legislators have some very tangible plans to finally make it legal for Japanese poker rooms at casinos or full-fledged gambling resorts to be established.
Since legalization is supported by both the ruling party and several other political partners, the chances of a bill passing are rather good. In fact, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe himself came out in cautious support of the plans a few weeks ago.
The bill is expected to be submitted before the legislative session closes in June. If all goes as planned, the country’s first casinos or even casino resorts could swing their gates open in by 2015. Some Japanese jurisdictions including Osaka, Okinawa, Hokkaido and Chiba are already preparing for the upcoming casino era by conducting economic and feasibility studies of their own.