Japanese parliament passed a new law to legalise land-based casinos in the country.
The approval of the ‘integrated resorts’ bill ends a political argument that has been ongoing for 15 years. International Casino operators are celebrating this decision as the way for multi-billion dollar projects is now clear.
The legislation was pushed through by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The idea proposed in the bill is to have large-scale integrated resorts (IRs) that would combine casinos with hotels and shopping facilities.
According to the Daiwa Research Institute, it is estimated that the casinos could generate nearly $10 billion in net profit per year.
Despite the possible money flow, the objections from the Democratic Party were fierce. The main concerns that were shared were regarding gambling addiction and money laundering.
NHK reported that 44% of Japanese opposed casinos, with only 12% supporting the bill and 34% of respondents being undecided.
Pro-casino lawmakers promised to implement the right measures in order to prevent the possible negative aspects of the decision: “We need to develop an environment where treatment such as training for specialised treatment and consultation can be received when necessary,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
Despite the fact that the decision has already been taken, casinos are not expected to be open until 2022 at the earliest. Further legislation is required for regulation, tax rates and other matters.
Even though casinos were previously outlawed in Japan, bets on horse, boat and bicycle races through government-backed bookmakers were legal.