A public meeting on the idea of having a casino resort in Wakayama prefecture (pictured) in Japan heard commentary on the reported economic benefits such a scheme could bring.
According to a press release issued on behalf of the organisers of the meeting, the benefits were said to include: increased inbound tourism; opportunities for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) business; local employment; and training for such an industry.
Legislation making casino gambling legal in Japan came officially into effect in December 2016. But the conclusion of 2017 without the passage of an anti-gambling addiction bill – a statute seen as a precondition of the final phase of casino industry legalisation – pushed the casino development phase further down the track, a number of industry commentators have said.
A new session of Japan’s parliament, due to start on January 22, is likely to introduce the problem gambling measure with a view to passing it this year, commentators have said.
During the recent public meeting, Yoshinobu Nisaka, the governor of Wakayama prefecture, was quoted as saying in the release that the hosting locally of any casino resort would be conditional on the central government’s ability to develop programmes and initiatives nationally to mitigate the risk of problem gambling among Japanese consumers.
In late December, it was reported that the central authorities were mooting measures to allow Japanese citizens to apply to have family members barred from entering any of the country’s gambling facilities and from online betting if they showed signs of compulsive betting.
The public meeting attendees were told that Wakayama – located in the Kansai region, on the central southern coast of Honshu island – would be a candidate for a regional licence.
A number of investment analysts have suggested that one or two permits could be granted initially for large cities such as Tokyo or Osaka, followed later by one or more for regional resorts.
Representatives from the Osaka University of Commerce, Kyoto University and Wakayama University attended the recent meeting.
“While a date has not yet been set, Wakayama aims to hold additional symposiums in the near future to continue educating the public as well as to understand the domestic concerns with regards to the integrated resort industry,” said the press release.
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DS Kim, Jeremy An and Christine Wang
Analysts at brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd