The Nikkei newspaper reported that discussions are underway to shape Japan’s casino laws after the casino study bill receives Diet approval this autumn. Industry analysts are already touting Japan as having the potential to be the second largest casino market in the world next to Macau.
The next step would be to create a new set of rules to regulate the industry. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated that an important part of creating these rules would be to identify certain casino-related issues and legal systems currently used in other countries like Singapore, including the pay-to-play rule that requires Singapore citizens and permanent residents to pay $S100 ($80) just to enter any of the two casinos in the country.
This tourist-first model isn’t expected to dissuade any of the major casino operators from making a bid for Japanese casino licenses.
The Nikkei also reported that Japan is looking at offering three casino licenses using the same integrated resorts model used by Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. All three integrated resorts are expected build a casino and use various entertainment options like hotels, cinemas, malls, and restaurants to complement it.
The locations for these integrated resorts have not yet been identified, although it appears that Osaka, by virtue of its size, geography and well-chronicled interest in hosting an integrated resort, is a cinch to receive one of these resorts. Two other locations—Okinawa Prefecture and Yokohama—are also in the mix by virtue of being popular tourist and resort destinations.
Despite Tokyo Governor Yoichi Mesuzoe saying that his city isn’t interested in an integrated resort, Japan’s largest city remains in the running.