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Japanese casino legalisation to wait until at least 2017

Thu, Nov 17, 8:57am by Staff Writer

Legalisation of casino gambling in Japan will have to wait until at least 2017 after a move by the ruling party to get the necessary legislation before the Japanese parliament was foiled.

Members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) attempted to get the important IR Promotion bill on the agenda for the Japanese parliament, the Diet, to consider this year.

Had this been successful, then the bill, which would effectively legalise casino gambling, could have been approved by the end of the year.

A second bill, the IR Implementation bill, would then set out the details of casino licenses, from which investment in the potentially massive industry would flow.

However, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has blocked the bill from being included on the Diet’s agenda. Under the Japanese parliamentary procedure, a bill must be first approved before it comes before the Diet.

The move is expected to be temporary, with significant support for the move across the board. but is enough to prevent the landmark legislation being passed in 2016.

“This would be helpful as a longer duration allows more issues, including gaming, to be considered. Absent debate on the IR bill this fall, the focus would then shift to the regularly scheduled spring 2017 legislative session,” Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen said in the wake of the news.

“As we’ve noted before, should the bill be brought up for debate we believe the likelihood of passage remains high given that the LDP has majority control over both legislative chambers,” Govertsen said.

The possibility of casino gambling being legalised has led to a wave of interest from casino developers in the Japanese market.

Hard Rock Café have already indicated they are ready to move should the legal status of casino gambling change.

MGM Chief Executive Officer James Murren said his company could invest between ¥500 billion and ¥1 trillion (USD$4.8 billion to USD$9.5 billion) on an ‘integrated resort’ in Tokyo, Yokohama or Osaka.

“We think there would be a tremendous amount of demand, and ultimately a public listing of these types of Japanese resorts would be very appealing,” Murren told the Japan Times.

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