Japanese premier Shinzo Abe (pictured) might not make any reference to legalising casinos in the country when he announces his economic policy proposals later this month.
Mr Abe is expected to announce his package of broad economic policies around June 27, Reuters reports.
A draft outline released on Monday says the government is committed to push forward its corporate tax reform and that it targets doubling annual foreign direct investment to nearly US$345 billion by 2020. The draft however makes no reference to casinos.
Lawmakers in Japan have been talking about legalising casinos for years but the idea gained ground when Mr Abe was elected in December 2012 pledging to give the country’s economy a much-needed boost.
Japan’s parliament, or Diet, is yet to begin debating a bill enabling casinos, but supporters of the initiative hope that the prime minister mentions the topic in his growth strategy, signalling that it is a policy priority.
A fortnight ago, Japan’s main opposition party, the Democratic Party of Japan, reached an agreement with the governing Liberal Democratic Party of Japan to start discussing the issue of legalising casino resorts still during the current session of the Diet, sources told GGRAsia.
The discussion however will only be at Cabinet Committee level in the lower house of Japan’s parliament, which makes it unlikely for the bill to be approved still during the current legislative session, ending on June 22.
Tokyo’s selection to host the 2020 Olympics Games has boosted confidence that the bill legalising gambling resorts will pass. Its potential as a gambling market has drawn the interest of some of the world’s largest casino operators.
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Alvin Chau Cheok Wa
Chief executive of privately-held VIP junket business Suncity Group