A bill to legalise in principle casino gambling in Japan passed the lower house in the country’s parliament – a body also known as the Diet – today (Tuesday), reports the Wall Street Journal. The bill will now move to the upper house for review.
“The bill passed through the chamber and will be sent to the upper house by today,” a parliamentary spokeswoman said, as quoted by AFP news agency.
Tuesday’s vote followed successful passage of the measure through a lower house committee on Friday, pushed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). But some opposition members walked out of the chamber before Tuesday’s vote to protest the bill, reported AFP.
Japanese brokerage Nomura said in a note on Monday that assuming passage in the lower house of the Diet (pictured), the bill legalising casino gaming could move to the upper house “the following week”.
In the upper house, “the LDP has a 50 percent ‘majority’ and should… be able to count on support from enough Komeito party members to offset LDP members who oppose passage,” said Nomura analysts Harry Curtis, Daniel Adam and Brian Dobson.
“The margin of support appears to be wider in the lower house than it does in the upper house, but the numbers could indicate a positive outcome before year-end,” said the Nomura team.
But it warned: “Like years past though, the legislation is by no means assured since the political process has so many different participants including the minority Democratic opponents, Ishin, and Communist parties.”
Polls show a majority of Japanese oppose casinos and the enabling bill drew opposition from several groups, including other parties in the Diet and the Japan Bar Association. A poll by the Yomiuri newspaper released Sunday found 57 percent of respondents opposed legalising casinos while 34 percent were in favour.
The bill that passed the Diet’s lower house on Tuesday only legalises in principle casino gambling in Japan. Casino legalisation in the country will be a two-statute process. After the enabling bill legalising casino resorts at the conceptual level, a second piece of legislation would detail the specifics, including how they are administered and regulated.
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