The long-awaited ‘casino bill’ has been passed in Japan’s Lower House Cabinet Committee, bringing Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe closer to its goal of legalising gaming resorts by 14 December.
The junior coalition party, the Komeito, has been a stumbling block for enacting the bill in the past, raising concerns of escalating gambling addiction rates and increasing criminal activity. However, The Komeito Party offered minimal objection, and ultimately supported the bill. Members of the opposition Democratic Party fiercely objected the bill, walking out of the committee vote in protest.
Since the bill was passed by the Lower House Committee, shares in Japan’s gaming industry have skyrocketed in Hong Kong. Niraku GC Holdings, a Japanese operator of pinball-like pachinko parlours, escalated as much as 139% to HK$1.67 in morning trading in Hong Kong. Dynam Japan Holdings Co also grew as much as 44%to HK$14.70 on the city’s bourse.
The bill was created with the intention of developing integrated resorts: “We are not thinking at all about creating casinos alone. We are thinking of complex entertainment facilities,” LDP lawmaker Takeshi Iwaya said at the committee session of the Lower House on Wednesday. Following the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, casino gaming would give a boost to the country’ leisure and tourism industry, and overall subdued economic growth.