Japanese legislators have agreed to let locals gamble despite moves to amend the proposed bill on casino legalisation to address concerns over any rise in problem gambling.
The Diet will debate the bill this month, taking its first step in approving casino gaming.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has already supported the bill, saying it would double the number of foreign tourists to Japan to 20m a year and boost the economy by the 2020 Olympic Games. Japan’s population of 128m would still be the main target market for casinos.
A government source said: “We confirmed that we will not exclude Japanese nationals,” said the source, who attended a meeting of pro-casino lawmakers early on Friday. He declined to be identified because the discussions were not yet public. We agreed that we will make a partial change, to address concerns that have been raised, to say that we will take necessary measures.”
The bill aims to pass by the end of 2014 although a second bill aim will be needed which could include an entrance fee for Japanese players.