The Japanese government endorsed on Friday a bill setting the broad regulatory framework for the establishment of a casino industry in the country. The document – known as the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill – will now be submitted to the Diet, the country’s parliament, for voting.
“We will promote tourism with visitors from all over the world spending days [at the casino resorts], while taking complete measures to address various concerns including gambling addiction,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (pictured) said in a government meeting on Friday, quoted by news agency Kyodo News.
Earlier this month, it had been reported that the governing coalition – the Liberal Democratic Party and its partner Komeito – had reached consensus on all 11 key big-picture policy areas regarding creation of a casino industry, including an initial cap of three casino resorts nationwide.
Kyodo News reported that Mr Abe’s government aimed for the IR Implementation Bill to pass the Diet during the ongoing session through June 20.
The bill proposes a fixed tax rate of 30 percent on any casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by that country’s proposed gaming resorts. It sets a JPY6,000 (US$55) casino entry fee for locals for 24-hour access, and limits casino visits by Japanese to three times a week and 10 times per month in aggregate.
A statute making casino gambling legal in principle in Japan came officially into effect in December 2016.
Investment bank Morgan Stanley estimated in a report earlier this month that Tokyo and Osaka together could account initially for two-thirds of the US$15-billion annual GGR that could be generated by a Japanese casino market in the early stages of market opening. On Wednesday, Fitch Ratings Inc said aggregate annual casino GGR in Japan may not exceed US$6 billion “after taking into account regulations being considered by lawmakers”.
Osaka governor Ichiro Matsui stated earlier this week that a casino resort could open in the Japanese prefecture by 2023, if the country’s parliament is quick to approve the necessary legislation.
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Adjusted EBITDA reported by Asian casino operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment for the fourth quarter of 2020