The latest draft of Japan’s ruling coalition’s Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill does not include a requirement that only 3 percent of the total gross floor area of a resort could be allotted for gaming, reported Reuters news agency.
Instead, the limit for the gaming area in such resorts will be set by the government, although it is not clear at what level, said the news agency, claiming to have seen the latest draft of the bill.
A statute making casino gambling legal in Japan came officially into effect in December 2016. The second piece of legislation – the IR Implementation Bill – now needs to be approved detailing the specifics: how casinos are administered and regulated; the taxation regime to be applied to them; and the number of licences to be issue
Earlier this month, it had been reported that the governing coalition – the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its partner Komeito – had reached consensus on all 11 key big-picture policy areas regarding creation of a casino industry, including restricting the size of a casino to only 3 percent of the gross floor area of any resort.
Investment analysts covering the gaming sector have mentioned that a floor space cap could hinder investments in Japan’s nascent casino industry.
Reuters quoted Jay Defibaugh, an analyst at brokerage CLSA, as saying: “The floor space restriction of 3 percent … is a burden for anything but a very large integrated resort.”
Japan’s governing parties seek to submit the IR Implementation Bill to the country’s parliament on April 27, Kyodo news agency reported earlier this month. Chikako Ikeda, an official at the LDP’s political affairs committee, confirmed the intended timeline to Reuters.
According to the media outlet, other key points in the draft bill were in line with those agreed by the coalition, including an initial cap of three casino resorts nationwide, a 30 percent tax on casino gross gaming revenue (GGR), and an entry levy of JPY6,000 (US$56) for Japanese citizens and residents wishing to enter such venues.
Banking group Morgan Stanley says the broad regulatory framework for Japan so far agreed between the governing coalition was “better than feared”.
Japanese brokerage Nomura said in a note earlier this month it thought the IR Implementation Bill would not be passed until either the second half of 2018 or the first half of 2019.
It could be the year 2025 before the actual launch of a casino venue, a number of industry voices have suggested.
"The first seven weeks of trading in the second quarter 2018 have been much stronger than the first quarter 2018"
Chief executive of boutique casino operator Silver Heritage