by Alan Williams – Olivier and Mann
Olivier and Mann – Shares of major casinos have been boosted after Japan’s legalisation of casinos approaches.
Japan’s parliament gave its approval on the long anticipated bill, almost putting it into law which could realistically come into effect by next week.
Experts suggested that domestic casino operations in Japan could generate up to US$40 billion a year.
Shares of international casino brands went up following the legislative nod from Japan.
Casino operations in Japan are illegal at the moment, although betting is permitted via government controlled operations on horse, boat and cycle racing.
The possibility of Japan becoming a major gambling destination has electrified casino owners who are keen on finding new locations, particularly near China.
The new bill, subject to Japan’s upper house approval, will include huge infrastructure projects, combining casinos, hotel, shopping, and other associated facilities.
Tourism is one of the key economic programs of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and supporters agree that the approval of the bill will buoy the country’s sluggish economy and provide benefits long beyond the tourism boom that will be generated by the upcoming Olympics in Tokyo.
However, those opposing the bill maintain that the proliferation of casinos in Japan would substantially affect Japan’s youths with gambling addiction and other social ills combined with an increase in organised crime.
Public opinion showed almost half of all respondents disapprove of the bill with only 12 percent favouring the proposal and 34 percent remain undecided.
The most common Japanese gambling game is currently the traditional Pachinko.
The approval of the bill will not mean an immediate operation of casinos. It will still need to go through regulations to define licensing.