A team of people from Japan’s governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) are to begin work later this month on the second-stage bill setting out the rules for Japan’s nascent casino industry, reported the Japan Times newspaper.
The news outlet said the team would be led by the LDP’s Takeshi Iwaya, a member of the House of Representatives in the Diet, the country’s parliament.
According to the report – which did not identify the source of the information – discussions are likely to cover several politically-sensitive topics including dealing with problem gamblers, and money laundering. They will also propose rules related to casino design and entrance restrictions, added the newspaper.
Legislation making casino gambling legal in Japan came officially into effect on December 26. That piece of legislation – referred to by its supporters prior to its enactment, as the Integrated Resorts Promotion Bill – got the final approval from Japan’s parliament on December 14.
Casino legalisation in Japan is a two-statute process. After approval of the enabling bill legalising casino resorts at the conceptual level, a second piece of legislation has now to be passed, detailing the specifics, including how casinos are administered and regulated.
The prefectural governments of Osaka and Wakayama in Japan had respectively indicated strong support for so-called integrated resorts with casinos said the Japan Times.
The governor of Osaka, Ichiro Matsui, has lobbied Japan’s central government seeking approval for his prefecture to be chosen for one of the country’s first casino resorts, the report added.
The major cities of Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka have been mentioned in media reports and analysts’ notes as leading contenders for large-scale casino resorts in Japan.
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai, president and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China Ltd, confirmed to media last month that the Las Vegas Sands group – which controls Sands China – maintains its interest in investing in a casino resort in Japan.
Las Vegas Sands executives have made a number of visits to Japan. The firm has been “in touch with Osaka quite frequently,” group chairman and chief executive Sheldon Adelson said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call in November.
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”We expect it [the first phase of casino resort Hoiana in Vietnam] to open in October, and by then basically 90 percent of the first-phase content will be launched – such as the golf course, and hotels”
Andrew Lo Kai Bong
Executive director of project investor Suncity Group