The House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Japan’s parliament, passed on Tuesday the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill.
That paves the way for the bill to be heard and passed by the upper chamber, the House of Councillors, in the next few weeks, although that would mean an extension of the current – ordinary – session of parliament, which is officially due to end on Wednesday (June 20). The governing coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner Komeito had already flagged a willingness to extend the current session to see the bill through.
According to information collected by GGRAsia from Japan, the coalition will decide on Wednesday how long the extension of the parliamentary sitting should run. The current thinking is for approximately 30 days, meaning that in likelihood at the earliest the upper chamber would pass the bill in early July.
The measure sets out certain requirements for a casino industry, including a cap of three on the number of gaming resorts in the first stage of liberalisation, and an entry fee of JPY6,000 (US$55) designed to discourage locals from using the gambling floor at such resorts.
If the bill is passed in the current session, a number of industry executives expect the first casino licences to be issued in around the year 2020, with the first resorts to open for operation in circa 2025.
On Friday the bill was nodded by majority vote in a lower house committee after 18 hours of consideration, despite opposition calls for further discussion. That paved the way for today’s lower-house vote.
In mid-May it emerged that Japan’s two governing parties – and an opposition party – jointly submitted another bill to the country’s parliament on the vexed issue of gambling addiction counter measures. It has previously been reported that the passage of such bill would be a condition of the timely passage of the IR Implementation Bill.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China