Japan Gets Greenlight to Legalize Casinos
On July 14, the Japanese Diet (legislature) approved a bill to legalize casinos. The measure now awaits the signature of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is expected to do so. This would make Japan the third country in Asia to allow casino gambling, after Macau and Singapore.
Supporters of casino gambling argue that it will create jobs and boost tourism. Opponents, including some within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), worry about its social costs, such as addiction and crime.
The new bill sets out rules for casino licensing and operations, including a ban on locals gambling and a minimum entrance fee of ¥10,000 ($89). Casinos must also be integrated into resorts with other entertainment and tourist facilities.
Development of casino resorts is expected to take several years, with the first ones opening in 2020 at the earliest. In anticipation of this, major gaming companies are already jockeying for position. MGM Resorts International has proposed a $2 billion integrated resort deal with real estate developer Mori Building Co. Las Vegas Sands is interested in building a $12 billion resort in Osaka.
Japan has been considering legalizing casinos for more than a decade. In 2013, an advisory panel to the government recommended that casinos be legalized to help revive the flagging economy. At that time, opposition from within the LDP killed the proposal. But with Japan’s economy now struggling again—the country slid into recession in the second quarter of this year—the timing may be better for legalizing casinos.
How Does Japan’s Earthquake Affect its Casino Plans?
While the 8.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011 did not cause major physical damage in the Tokyo and Osaka casino gaming markets, it has already had a significant impact on those plans. The quake caused widespread power outages and transportation disruptions which have curtailed customer visits to casinos. In the short-term, this is likely to reduce casino revenues and earnings.
Prior to the earthquake, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS), MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ: WYNN) had all been granted or were in the process of seeking licenses to build casinos in Japan. However, given the current situation, it is unclear whether these projects will continue as planned. A Wynn spokesman has already said that their project is on hold “indefinitely.”
Investors have responded negatively to news of the quake, sending share prices for casino operators down across the board. Shares of Las Vegas Sands have fallen by more than 10% in just two days, while MGM and Wynn are both down by more than 5%. This could be an opportunity for investors who believe that construction will resume in Japan in the near future. If it does, shares of these companies could rebound as investor sentiment returns.
Coalition Wants Japanese Earthquake to Hasten Casino Legalization
A coalition of pro-gambling groups is hoping that the devastating earthquake in Japan will help to hasten the legalization of casinos in the country. The group, which is made up of casino operators, labor unions, and business leaders, says that the passage of a casino bill would provide a much-needed boost to the Japanese economy.
Supporters of legalization argue that casinos could generate as much as $40 billion in annual revenue, and that they would create tens of thousands of jobs. They also say that casinos would help attract more tourists to Japan.
However, the idea of legalizing casinos has faced strong resistance in Japan, where opinion polls have shown that a majority of the population opposes them. There are also concerns about the potential for gambling addiction and other social problems.
The coalition behind the pro-casino campaign is hoping to change public opinion with a new advertising campaign that highlights the benefits of casinos. The campaign will launch next month and will include television commercials, online ads, and PR stunts at major tourist destinations.
Japan casino bill unaffected by quake: minister
TOKYO, March 14 (Reuters) – A Japanese cabinet minister said on Tuesday a bill to legalise casinos in the country was unaffected by the massive earthquake that struck the north of the country, Kyodo news agency reported.
“There is no impact on legislation to legalise casinos,” minister Yoshihide Suga was quoted as saying by Kyodo. The Diet, or parliament, is expected to pass the casino bill during its current session which ends in June.
The magnitude 9.0 quake that hit Japan on Friday caused extensive damage and loss of life. (Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto; Editing by Neil Fullick)
Japan Gears Up To Legalize Casinos After 6.9 Earthquake
The large earthquake that struck Japan over the weekend is not stopping the country from moving ahead with plans to legalize casinos. The quake, which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale, did not cause any fatalities, but it did disrupt transportation and power in some areas.
Despite this, the Japanese government is pushing ahead with plans to legalize casinos in order to help stimulate the economy. A bill that would allow casinos to be built in Japan is currently making its way through the legislature, and it is expected to be passed by the end of this year.
Casinos are currently banned in Japan, but there has been a push to legalize them in recent years. Supporters of casino legalization argue that casinos could help revive Japan’s economy, which has been struggling in recent years.
Opponents of casino legalization argue that casinos could lead to gambling addiction and other social problems. However, the government appears to be moving ahead with plans to legalize casinos, regardless of these concerns.
The earthquake that struck over the weekend is unlikely to have a significant impact on the passage of the casino legalization bill. The quake did not cause any fatalities and it appears that most damage was limited to isolated areas.
This means that the Japanese government is still moving ahead with plans to legalize casinos, despite some public opposition. If the bill is passed by the end of this year, we can expect to see casinos opening in Japan within a few years.