Recently re-elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that he will do his best to bolster his country’s economy by means of his suite of measures known as “Abenomics.” and gaming companies such as Las Vegas Sands Corp and MGM Resorts International have publicly shown their interest in investing in Japan if casino gaming is legalized,
However, the bill faces opposition from some members of Komeito, Abe’s junior coalition party, and from some quarters of his own Liberal Democratic Party, who are concerned about the impact of gambling addictions.
Anti-casino lawmakers have also stepped up their campaign, drawing the public’s attention to Japan’s already high rates of gambling addiction, mostly related to pinball-style pachinko games played throughout the country.
Union Gaming Research LLC in the United States has also issued a report on Thursday suggesting that casino resorts will never happen in Tokyo or Osaka by 2020, in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Authors of the report, Christopher Jones and John DeCree wrote: “We are less convinced that the opening of casinos in Tokyo and Osaka would be the right move out of the gate, as those markets do not fit the original reasoning behind the push to legalise casinos in Japan – to spur economic development by encouraging tourism in under-visited regions of Japan.”
“Today, Japan has no shortage of domestic or international tourists to Tokyo or Osaka. Commonly referred to as the ‘Golden Route,’ the route between the cities is taken by more than 90 percent of all tourists to Japan,” they added.
Professor Toru Mihara of Osaka University of Commerce and one of the architects of the casino bill said that failure to pass the bill in this session would be a “total loss of face” for Abe’s cabinet. He also said the bill will be difficult to pass this year, as newer topics come up in the Diet.