The chairman of the pro-casino caucus in Japan’s Diet says the group plans to submit a legalization bill in the next session of the parliament.
Hiroyuki Hosoda, a senior member of Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and an ally of the prime minister, also says the intention is to get the bill passed in the 2014 session.
With Abe reported to favor casinos as part of his program for reviving Japan’s economy and with Tokyo winning the 2020 Summer Olympics, anticipation has never been higher that resort-scale gambling may finally become reality in the world’s third-largest economy and Asia’s largest untapped casino market.
“A lot of Japanese gamble at casinos overseas, so the ban doesn’t make sense anymore,” Hosoda told Bloomberg. “It just means tax revenues go elsewhere.”
It is believed that the industry is at least five years from becoming operational, but analysts believe a market consisting of two integrated resorts, one each in Tokyo and Osaka, could rake in US$10 billion in revenues a year, possibly surpassing Singapore and catapulting the country to No. 2 in gaming revenue in the world behind only Macau.