Japanese government attracts Caesars praise for IR bill approach

Japanese government attracts Caesars praise for IR bill approach

Monday, June 25, 2018 Posted by Luke Massey
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The country's upper chamber is expected to vote in favour of the bill

Caesars Entertainment has praised the Japanese government’s thoughtful approach to gaming regulation, with the country’s first casino licences now expected to be issued by 2020.

Jan Jones, the company’s EVP for public policy and corporate responsibility, was reacting to news that the lower chamber of the Japanese Diet had approved the Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill (IR Bill), despite opposition from the Constitutional Democratic Party (CPD)

Under the lower chamber’s version of the bill, Japan residents will be charged a ¥6,000 (US$54) entrance fee, while foreign visitors can enter free of charge. The bill will restrict Japanese residents to a maximum of three casino visits per week and 10 visits per month.

It is widely expected that the House of Councillors, the upper chamber of the Japanese Diet, will vote in favour of the IR bill given that it is controlled by the ruling coalition of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior partner Komeito.

Jones told TotallyGaming.com: “Caesars has been working in Japan for 15 years and we are excited and appreciative that the government appears poised to pass IR regulation and legislation.

“We appreciate the thoughtful process the government has undertaken to ensure the strongest regulatory environment and focus on creating resorts unique to Japanese culture.

“Assuming the legislation passes the upper house, we think the first licences might be awarded in late 2020 with first resorts opening in 2025.”

The only sticking point was whether the legislation would be passed before the Diet adjourned its current session. However, these fears were quickly allayed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, who agreed to extend the session by 32 days from 20 June.

The CPD had also expressed concern that the proposed legislation provides just a proportional cap on space and no limit on overall floor size, which was originally thought to be 15000 sqm.

However, Jones suggested that Caesars is comfortable even if this limit resurfaces, by adding: “Given the size of these large entertainment resorts, we are comfortable with the limited casino floor, as our primary focus is world class entertainment.”

Totally Gaming says: Now that the standard 150-day session, originally scheduled to close on 20 June, has been extended until 22 July, it is highly likely that the IR bill will be passed. Jones was herself part of a goodwill visit to Japan in March, as Caesars ramps up its plans ahead of the introduction of casino-led integrated resorts in the country.

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