Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, will need support from his Buddhist-backed coalition partner Komeito, a group of legislators whose ethical concerns on casinos have made them much more cautious about supporting the bill, and has yet to decide on whether to support it.
Those opposed to the legislation boycotted the discussion.
Hiroyuki Hosoda, chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s general council and head of a bipartisan group of pro-casino lawmakers, informed parliament that the building of casinos would stimulate Japan’s stagnant economy, commenting: "It’s fundamental that the profits from casino facilities are returned to society.”
Limited racing betting; horses, boats, and bicycles, is allowed in Japan but casinos have long been banned. International operators have been preparing billions of dollars in investment in the run up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, suggesting they can boost the number of tourists entering the country.
Japan is capable of becoming one of the biggest Asian gambling destinations with potentially $40 billion in annual casino revenue according to CLSA Ltd.
Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. CEO, Lawrence Ho, comments: “The Japan legislation seems like it’s finally going forward. I personally have been lobbying it for many, many years. We would be extremely interested and will definitely participate in it, if we are lucky to."