Japanese casino legislation set to be delayed in key market

Japanese casino legislation set to be delayed in key market

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 Totally Gaming

Proposed legislation to legalise casinos in the hugely promising market of Japan is to be postponed, according to reports.

Sources told the Reuters news agency that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet does not have the political leverage to push through the bill this year, as previously expected.

When contacted by TotallyGaming.com, a Japanese government spokesperson refused to comment.

The Prime Minister had focused on the economic benefits of casino resorts as a key part of his growth plan for the country, whose economy has been relatively flat in recent years.

According to H2 Gambling Capital, Japan is already the third largest gambling market in the world in terms of gross win. However, Abe is keen to boost visitor numbers, with the country continuing to trail much smaller destinations in the region, such as Singapore.

At the beginning of 2014, it appeared that significant momentum was building for the legalisation of casinos after Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party introduced the legislation, which was sponsored by a cross-party group of pro-casino legislators.

However, political wrangling appears to have scuppered the bill for the time being and there are now fears that a casino resort in Tokyo is unlikely to open in time for the 2020 summer Olympic Games in the city.

Gaming companies such as Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts have been monitoring the situation in the hope of tapping into the market, which has huge potential and could generate $40bn annually, according to brokerage company CLSA’s estimates.

Reuters said that lawmakers supporting the bill are unlikely to put it forward to a vote before the current parliamentary session ends this month.

There are also concerns that the bill may not be passed next year, with other legislation covering national defence likely to have a higher priority, the report added.

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