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Japan looks likely to finalize casino legalization (2016/11/28)

Japan has been discussing casino legalization for a long time.  Considering the support of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the right timing, Japan is likely to pass the long-delayed gambling legalization bill in 2016.  The passage could turn the world’s third largest economic entity into an international gaming destination.  According to data of Credit Lyonnaise Securities Asia (CLSA), integrated resorts (IRs) could inject US$40 billion into Japan’s economy annually.  Researcher Kotaro Tamura at Milken Institute noted that the Japan parliament is very likely to pass the bill because of the government’s increased political capital and its plan of attracting more international tourists.  These two factors are the key which may facilitate the passage of the gaming bill.  The bill would allow Japan’s hotels, casinos, shopping malls and other entertainment facilities to transform into IRs.  Abe has openly supported the IR concept and pinpointed the development to be a “key part of Japan’s economic growth strategy”.  However, the concept did not gain political support.  When Abe reorganized the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) personnel this August, he appointed three pro-casino officials to tops spots, with Toshihiro Nikai assigned to the position of secretary-general, Hiroyuki Hosoda the General Council chairman and Toshimitsu Motegi the Policy Research Council chairman.  These three officials reportedly held a meeting on October 20, in which they confirmed their intention to have the bill passed during the current parliamentary session that ends on November 30.  If Japan passes the gaming legalization bill, the development of the country’s casino industry may experience the same course that Singapore has taken.

 
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