‘Historic’ casino vote in Japan

‘Historic’ casino vote in Japan

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 Posted by Scott Longley
Time is tight as bill moves to upper house

The Japanese casino bill has passed another hurdle after it was debated in the lower house of the Diet and now all eyes are on how the IR bill gets on when it moves to the upper chamber.

As analysts from Union Gaming suggested it was an “historic occasion” but the much harder task of persuading the upper house to pass the measure now lies ahead. The measure has eight days to be dated before the parliamentary session ends on December 14.

The bill as proposed would allow for a number of integrated resorts to be built in Japan. The Union Gaming team noted that the IR Promotion Bill would essentially legalise casinos, while a second IR Implementation Bill would establish the relevant parameters for the developments.

These include the tax rate, the number of developments and where they will be located, junket regulations and locals entry fees.

“We continue to believe that the two major metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Osaka will each be awarded at least one license, with the possibility of multiple licenses issued for smaller-scale IRs outside of these two major metros,” said Union’s Grant Govertsen.

The bill now moves to the House of Councillors in the upper house. Crucially, although the ruling LDP party of Prime Minster Shinzo Abe holds an outright majority in both houses, it does not control this committee. It is instead chaired by a member of the opposition DPP and as such it is a more difficult hurdle for the bill than might otherwise be case.

That the bill – which has been delayed for years – has reached this stage is, as Union Gaming suggest, a cause for optimism as it has progressed further than the bill got previously. Said Govertsen: “Even though hopeful passage through the upper house would still leave the first IR opening date a good five years out, it would be a shot in the arm for sentiment on gaming names, which are already enjoying a tailwind on Macau's recovery.”

He noted that should the bill fail this time around, it would remain alive for the spring session.

Totally Gaming says: Those who have been following the twists and turns of the passage of this casino bill – including many of the biggest names in global casino gaming – will be keeping their fingers crossed that the LDP members on the upper house committee can cajole and persuade the opposition that this bill is worthy of passage. There are only days left, but the signs at least are hopeful.

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