Japan’s lower parliamentary chamber is expected to start discussions today (Tuesday) on the 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 – was submitted to Japan’s parliament, a body known as the Diet, on April 27.
According to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent, the Steering Committee of the House of Representatives – the parliament’s lower chamber – decided during a meeting on Monday to start discussing the IR Implementation Bill at a plenary session taking place this afternoon.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to attend the plenary meeting this afternoon, said our correspondent. Mr Abe’s government had said it expected the IR Implementation Bill to pass the Diet during the ongoing session through June 20.
The parliamentary membership of Japan’s two governing parties – the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its smaller partner Komeito – is said to expect the IR Implementation Bill to pass the lower chamber by early June. The bill will then move to the upper house – the House of Councillors – for further discussion and voting.
It is not guaranteed however that the bill can be passed through both houses of the Diet before the official ending on June 20 of the current parliamentary session.
According to GGRAsia’s correspondent, the two governing parties are mulling an extension of the current session by “around a week”, in order to make sure that the bill can pass both houses of the Diet.
The IR Implementation Bill proposes an initial cap of three casino resorts nationwide, and 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$54) 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.
Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan’s Deputy Cabinet Secretary, said in an address to the industry at the Japan Gaming Congress in Tokyo on May 10 that he “hoped” opposition parties, including the Japan Restoration Party, would support the casino liberalisation initiative.
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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