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For the first time in decades, Japan is finally on the verge of passing a gambling bill that would create a legal framework for operating land-based casinos in the country. The legislation could be huge for the economy of Japan, as some experts estimate the industry to be worth in the vicinity of $40 billion a year.
Strong Political Support
This is the first time in modern history there is a strong political support for a gambling bill in Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party currently have a decisive majority in Japanese parliament (Diet), and they clearly plan on utilizing it to the fullest extent.
The bill to legalize casinos in Japan passed the lower house of Diet today (Tuesday), proceeding to the upper house where it should be approved. Since Abe and the LDP have a controlling majority in the upper house as well, the passage of the bill is almost guaranteed.
Pros & Cons
Legalized gambling could do a lot for the country’s economy. There is already a strong gambling culture present in Japan, evident in numerous Pachinko parlors. These parlors run illegal operations, paying winnings off-site, avoiding legal ramifications.
Abe and his party believe legal casinos could help the country recover after 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which are bound to drain a lot of resources.
However, the general public is split on the matter of casino legislation. Many are concerned about side-effects such as gambling addiction and increased crime rates. Additionally, a large Japanese newspaper commented on the bill, stating it was unhealthy to build a growth strategy based on other people’s misfortune.
Online Gambling in Japan
As of right now, Japanese have to turn to offshore sites for nearly all casino games and online poker. Should Abe’s party continue down its current path, it isn’t at all unfathomable for the country to start issuing licenses for operators who want to provide their services to Japanese players, further boosting the country’s economy.