Japan is Poised to Become a Major Player in World Gambling Markets


Japan is getting ready to move forward in efforts to legalize casino gambling. Lawmakers in Japan are preparing to submit a bill to parliament that implements a new policy plan allowing for the operation of casinos within the country. The bipartisan bill is supported by Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, and is expected to pass within the next year.

Included in the Bill

The policy plan outlined in the bill is modeled on that used to regulate casinos in Las Vegas and Singapore, creating oversight similar to that conducted by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The plan calls for this agency to answer to the cabinet, as opposed to any one ministry, safeguarding against industry and government corruption.
Advocates of the bill favor regulatory system in order make it exceedingly difficult for all but the world’s largest operators to open for business in Japan. This, they say, will help to prevent organized crime from establishing itself within the country’s gaming industry.

Construction Could Begin Within Two Years

Should the bill pass, licensing of casinos could begin as soon as 2016. The country’s first casino would then be set to open its doors in time for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Corporations are Competing to Get in on the Ground Floor

Japan has the potential to create the second-largest gambling market in the world, and some gaming mega corporations already have plans in the works for Japanese resorts. Wynn Resorts Ltd. is preparing plans for a new project in Japan that could cost the company over $4 billion, and other companies such as MGM Resorts International., Las Vegas Sands Corp., and Melco Crown Entertainment are also considering operations in the country.

More Resort than Casino

In an effort to compete with Singapore’s prosperous gaming industry, Japan’s first operators will likely focus on large, high-end resorts as opposed to standalone casinos. This fits nicely with the broader purpose of the bill, which is to draw more tourists to bring more tourists, meetings, and conventions to the country.

Popular Support Should be Forthcoming

Japan’s population will also benefit from the bill; gambling is already quite popular in the country, albeit limited in scope. Currently, most gaming operations in Japan operate such services as sports betting, lotteries, and a pinball-like game called pachinko.