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Japan – Fitch lowers market estimates as Japan’s gaming bill heads to Diet

By - 30 April 2018

The Japanese government has approved its much debated Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill which has been sent to the Diet for voting. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, pictured, reportedly wants the Diet to take up the bill during the current session that runs through June 20.

He said: “We will promote tourism with visitors from all over the world spending days (at the casino resorts), while taking complete measures to address various concerns including gambling addiction.”

If the Diet passes the bill, casinos are expected to open in the mid-2020s.

The bill in its current form sets a flat tax rate of 30 per cent on casino gross gaming revenue and limits locals to three casino visits a week or 10 times in 28 consecutive days. Locals will be charged an entrance fee of ¥6,000 (US$56) with gaming floor sizes being kept to a maximum of three per cent of the resort’s foot print.

Operators will also need to file reports on customers, with details including their name, address, and birth date, who deposit or withdraw more than 1m yen ($9,500) during any given 24-hour period.

Reports out of Japan also believe that a flat tax rate of 30 per cent has been agreed on as opposed to a sliding tax rate of between 30 and 50 per cent dependent on annual revenue.

Geoffrey Davis, CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment Japan, said: “We haven’t seen anything in the Japanese casino legislation that isn’t manageable.”

Osaka governor Ichiro Matsui said to the Japan Times newspaper: “Discussion of the legislation has been delayed a little bit, but discussion on the contents of the Liberal Democratic Party [LDP] and Komeito bill has now wrapped up. So it will be passed in the Diet. Under that assumption, we want to realise a casino resort in fiscal 2023, or by 2024 at the latest. If the bill becomes law as quickly as is possible, we’ll promptly draw up a schedule to open up the facility.”

Analytical firm Fitch Ratings has reeled in its expected earnings for the future casino market saying it sees the total market size at around $6bn.

The firm said: “This is well below consensus estimates, which are generally above US$10bn, and is at the low end of the US$6bn to US$9bn range that Fitch had previously estimated.”

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