A group of Japanese lawmakers plan to resubmit a casino enabling bill by the end of this month in a last effort to get legislation passed this year, Reuters reports.
Liberal Democratic Party politician Takeshi Iwaya, a member of a group of pro-casino lawmakers, said they decided to submit the bill by next Tuesday, the last day of the fiscal year.
“We have decided to submit it before the end of the fiscal year,” Mr Iwaya told reporters, according to Reuters. Having the bill on the table by March 31 would allow municipalities considering hosting casinos to continue funding research on the issue in the coming year, he added.
Casino legalisation in Japan would be a two-statute process. After an enabling bill permitting the principle of casino resorts, a second piece of legislation is expected to detail the specifics, including how they are administered and regulated.
Last year Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe indicated the government’s support for passage of the casino bill as an element in the country’s economic recovery. In May Mr Abe made heavily publicised visits to Singapore’s two casino resorts. “I think integrated resorts will be a key part of Japan’s economic growth strategy,” he was quoted by Japanese media as saying during the trip.
But many lawmakers, including some in the ruling coalition, oppose the casino policy amid fears it could increase the prevalence of gambling addiction and other social ills.
GGRAsia reported a fortnight ago that a special task force of public servants set up to drive the progress of Japan’s casino policy might have to be disbanded. “That could happen, should the congressional discussion of the IR [Integrated Resorts] Bill not be concluded at this ordinary session of the Diet,” a Japanese source with direct knowledge of the situation told us.
Casino operators and developers including Macau gaming investors MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corp have said they would be willing to invest billions of U.S. dollars per casino resort in Japan. Some investment analysts have suggested Japan could become second only to Macau in terms of annual gross gaming revenue.
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"We like Japan. We like all areas…but it is a matter of what the local government and the local people really want"
Ted Chan Ying Tat
Chief operating officer of Galaxy Entertainment Japan