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NEWS 26 January 2015

Japan casino bill to be resubmitted

By David Cook
A bill that would legalise casinos in Japan is expected to be resubmitted when the next Diet session begins today.

The bill was initially submitted in 2013 but a vote on it was put back until 2015 as lawmakers missed a 30 November deadline.

A resubmission can now take place after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party won the election in December to retain its position in office.

Abe is in favour of legalising casinos to generate economic growth and hopes to have operations live before the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, but his plans lacked the political leverage to be passed before the end of 2014.

The bill is opposed by Abe’s junior coalition party Komeito however, as well as some members of his own party, who are concerned that it would encourage the threat of gambling addictions.

Casino operators Las Vegas Sand and MGM Resorts International have previously stated their support of integrated resorts in Japan.

Anti-casino lawmakers have campaigned to prevent the law from being passed, pointing towards Japan’s high rates of gambling addiction, with a majority related to pinball-style pachinko games.

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