The Japanese government plans to set up a task force to help develop a regulatory regime designed to speed up the process of issuing licenses for destination casinos once they are legalized.
The goal is to have the first resorts open in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, and officials from various government agencies will come together to work on it, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.
“It will not take that much time” for the task force to be assembled, he said. “We will need to identify issues to deal with by looking into cases and legal systems seen in other countries.”
A bill to legalize the industry was introduced in December with the backing of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party.
“Integrated resorts will be a main feature of my growth strategy,” Abe said in May during a state visit to Singapore that included tours of Las Vegas Sands’ Marina Bay Sands and Genting Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa.
The bill failed to pass in the most recent session of the National Diet, but it was discussed in committee, and expectations are it will pass in a special session this fall.
Analysts believe two large-scale tourist-oriented resorts will be authorized initially, one each in Tokyo and Osaka, and possibly three or four smaller venues in regional markets. Forecasts are for a market worth $15 billion in the early going and possibly as much as $40 billion as the industry expands over the next decade.