A Japanese parliamentary committee, due to meet on Friday to list items of business for a forthcoming legislative session, is likely to include a debate on the so-called Integrated Resorts Promotion Bill, reports the Financial Times newspaper.
The bill – promoted by a cross-party selection of lawmakers – aims to legalise casinos in that nation. A follow-up piece of legislation would then be needed in order to regulate them, Japanese academics and lawmakers have stated.
An extraordinary session of the Japanese parliament (pictured) – a body known as the Diet – is due to start in late September and run until late November.
It has often been reported in the Japanese and foreign media that the country is close to passing legislation to enable casino resorts; only for hopes to be dashed as other domestic political considerations come into play. The Buddhist-influenced party Komeito – an ally of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government – had been seen by a number of commentators on Japanese politics as one of the main stumbling blocks to the legalisation of casinos in Japan.
Casino entrepreneur Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp, gave some commentary – during the opening of his Parisian Macao gaming resort in Macau on Tuesday – on the possible new window of opportunity in Japan.
“I’m told that this fall [autumn] the Diet may reintroduce the question of legalising gaming, and if they do, we will certainly be there as a candidate. And we have incredible iconic buildings to build,” stated Mr Adelson.
“We’d love to be in Japan. We have a whole book full of [designs of] iconic buildings that almost any city would be proud to have,” he added.
Other casino operators based either in Las Vegas or in Macau have also expressed an interest in developing casino resorts in Japan.
Brokerage Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd said in a note on July 28 that election gains that month for the Liberal Democratic Party of Mr Abe in the House of Councillors – the upper chamber of the Diet – could strengthen the hand of the Prime Minister in relation to casinos.
The note added that there might only be two licences in that country – for large gaming resorts – at the first stage of liberalisation following legalisation; rather than a previously-mooted idea of a licence each for two large properties and a licence each for two smaller regional ones.
Union Gaming said the front runners for casino properties were Tokyo, the Japanese capital, and the city of Osaka.
Yuriko Koike, the recently-elected first female governor of Tokyo, said in an August interview that she supported the idea of opening a casino venue in the city.
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