The Japanese have a saying, “If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub.” Simply put, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Japan is preparing to venture into the gambling world, with a lot to possibly gain. In making the necessary arrangements, regulators have taken a pragmatic approach to establishing gaming legislation, but one decision perhaps falls just outside that realm.
Regulators voted on Tuesday to limit the amount of times gamblers can enter casinos weekly and monthly. The plan for Japanese residents, as set forth by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and agreed to by the Komeito Party (KP), would limit weekly visits to three and monthly visits to 10.
Although they agree on the number of visits, the two parties still disagree on the number of casinos to be allowed, as well as the price of admission. Until all points in the legislation are cleared up, the chances of gambling opportunities in the reserved country are slim. The LDP and the KP will have to reach an agreement prior to June 20, the date their current session ends. Only after finalizing the terms of the bill can they send it to the Diet, Japan’s legislature that consists of a House of Councilors and a House of Representatives.
The LDP wants to see a casino entrance fee of JPY5,000 ($48) per person for Japanese residents. This is in contrast to the JPY8,000 ($75) the KP recommends and puts Japanese casino entrance fees on par with those of Singapore. Some government officials have proposed a much lower fee, at around JPY2,000 ($19), with free admission for foreigners. The fee debate continues.
Another point of contention centered on the number of casinos that would be authorized in the country. The KP wants to see, at most, three casinos, but the LDP is pushing for as many as five. Their proposal is based solely on the number of local governments that have shown interest in wanting a casino built in their territory. However, who wouldn’t want part of a multi-billion dollar industry to brighten their back yard?
Analysts predict that only three casinos would bring in almost $10 billion in annual net profit to the country. Several international companies have lined up to compete for one of the few licenses that will be issued, with the first casinos expected to be ready by around 2022.