Published On: Wed, Sep 27th, 2017

Casino Bill Faces Further Delay in Japan

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

According to reports, the Japanese casino bill, expected to be tabled at the National Diet, may be delayed further due to the upcoming snap elections that will see the lower legislative chambers being dissolved.


The country’s PM, Shinzo Abe, is letting go of the National Diet’s House of Representatives, which will force the bill to be tabled only next year. The leader announced earlier this week that he would be holding an election to vote for new members to take over the House of Representatives. All 475 current members will be let go after the votes are in.


The voting will be held either on the 22nd of October or the 29th of October.


Article 7 of the Japanese Constitution allows Prime Ministers to completely dissolve the House of Representatives even before their actual tenure ends. This is the first time since World War II that Japan will witness a complete dissolving of the House of Representatives before term.


Casinos not a priority


Abe is believed to be looking at candidates who prioritize matters such as education and also those who can further a constitutional amendment to boost the country’s defense capabilities. Other than that, it has been reported that Abe will also factor in the willingness of lawmakers before supporting the casino bill.


The casino bill has been worked on by the Diet for quite some time now. If and when it is approved, the bill will allow the setting up of two casino resorts in Yokohama, Tokyo or Osaka. The casinos will not measure more than 15000 square meters in area and will be required to pay a 22% tax on mass market earnings.


There will also be restrictions on the number of times locals can visit the casinos, apart from the $100 entrance fee.


A rocky path


When Japan brought up the idea of gambling liberalization, the news was received with great enthusiasm by the industry. Gaming giants such as Caesars, Galaxy Entertainment, Hard Rock, Wynn Resorts, Melco, and Las Vegas Sands were reported to have been extremely interested in making the most of the opportunity.


However, as information about the restrictions started doing the rounds, the interest gradually waned. Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands, who initially had great plans for Japan, has now reduced his investment to $5 billion, citing the restrictions as being the primary reason.


Now, with the further delay, it appears that the status quo on gambling in Japan might just continue for longer than expected.

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