Published On: Wed, Apr 19th, 2017

What Japan’s Casino Legalization Holds for the Country?

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japan-ParliamentLegalization of casinos has been a hotly debated topic in Japan for some time now. The Japanese government has put a second bill in motion for administering and regulating the new casinos in the country. The Act Promoting Implementation of Specified Integrated Resort Areas was passed in the last week of December 2016 and the country will see the legalization of two integrated casino resorts next year.

At the first meeting of the government’s task force, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his objective of realizing clean casinos through highest regulatory standards and enforcement. The measure is touted to create an infrastructure of Japanese-style integrated resorts. The new law would focus on attracting developers and formulating policies for dealing with problem gamblers. Moreover, it recognizes Bitcoin as a payment method in the country’s casinos.

Impact of the legalization

Japan’s casino legalization is a golden opportunity for casino businesses around the globe. The gaming industry is abuzz over the legalization. As per a study conducted by Global Market Advisors, Japan’s integrated resort development will make it the third-largest market in the world after the US and Macau and second largest in the whole of Asia. This clearly explains why top officials of world-class casino chains such as Las Vegas Sands and Melco Resorts and Entertainment are aiming at Japan gaming license.

Japan’s IR regulatory legislation

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe supports casino legalization to help shape the country’s IR regulatory legislation. IRs are likely to pose more problem in a country where people are already gambling away billions on horse racing, pachinko, and lotteries. However, Abe’s statement shows his unwavering commitment towards boosting Abenomics and solving the economic crisis faced by the country for nearly a quarter of a century.

Japan’s IR licensing move, as seen by the Global Market Advisers, is a competitive bidding process since the two IR licenses were awarded in Singapore in 2006. Japan’s White Paper analyzed the country’s potential in the gaming industry in two IR’s in Yokohama and Osaka. The gaming revenue of Japan is estimated to be in the range of $11 billion to $24 billion.

Although Japan’s tourism industry recorded a 22% growth and 24 million visitors last year, it still has the potential for expansion. Since Japan has the world’s largest debt per capita, their revenue should be an important consideration. Since the country is underscoring the IR concept, they should decide what will make the IRs Japanese. But if the country doesn’t define its IR pursuits, casino legalization would be another cul-de-sac for the country.

About the Author

- iGaming & land based specialist reporter for the global gaming market