Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has dropped plans to pass a bill to legalise the principle of casinos in the country in the current parliamentary session, local media report. The decision was mainly due to lack of time for deliberation as the current session of the Diet ends on November 30, a senior LDP member was quoted saying on Friday.
Diet proceedings during the current session have also been slowed by the resignations of two Cabinet ministers in October, the Asahi Shimbun reported.
The ruling coalition will now try to pass the IR [Integrated Resorts] Bill during the first of two parliamentary sessions in 2015, Japan’s Kyodo News press agency reported on Friday. Neither of those sessions has been announced yet.
But the decision to carry over the bill to next year’s ordinary Diet session is expected to make it difficult for casino resorts to be constructed in time for the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
The country’s potential as a gambling market has drawn the interest of some of the world’s largest casino operators, but they have been cautious about the mixed signals on the casino bill.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had sought early passage of the casino bill as a pillar of Japan’s growth strategy. Mr Abe had classified integrated resorts as a main feature of its government’s growth strategy.
But Komeito, the junior partner in the ruling coalition headed by Mr Abe’s party, has been cautious about the legislation. Komeito Secretary General Yoshihisa Inoue has said Japan should pursue economic growth without depending on gambling.
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Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Kelsey Zhu
Analysts at brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd