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Japan – Union Gaming hopeful of Japanese progress

By - 23 April 2015

Union Gaming Research believes the submission of Japan’s gaming bill is still possible during the current parliamentary session set to end on June 24.

Analysts Grant Govertsen and Felicity Chiang said they were ‘cautiously optimistic’ that the prospect of resort casinos could progress in Japan, adding ‘much will need to fall into place to make it a reality.’

“As with previous years, the next big question is: will debate begin with enough time to ensure both houses of the Diet can pass it during the regularly scheduled session,” they explained. “The first procedural step in this year’s process was set in motion last week with Japan’s junior ruling coalition partner Komeito, agreeing to allow the senior coalition partner, the Liberal Democratic Party, to submit the casino bill. However Komeito’s allowing the bill to be submitted is quite different than Komeito agreeing to support the bill en bloc, which would give us greater confidence in the bill’s passage. We do not believe that any substantial movement will occur until after the second round of local- level elections (April 26) and the subsequent holiday period. Things could heat up towards the end of May.”

The analytical group still hasn’t ruled out the prospect of there being a resort casino open in somewhere like Osaka in time for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics although they described this as an ‘absolute best-case scenario.’

Mr Govertsen and Ms Chiang added: “We believe there remains federal-level support for either a 2+1 or 2+2 initial rollout of licences, namely two large integrated resorts destined for somewhere within the metro areas of Tokyo and Osaka, and another one or two small integrated resorts in smaller municipalities.”

The American Gaming Association has offered to help Japanese legislators wherever it can as they piece together their gaming laws.

AGA President and CEO Geoff Freeman said: “We can be helpful by providing information and experiences.”
He added that US operators ‘would all be well suited to be partners in Japan’ and could provide ‘not only gaming experience, but also high-end experience like nightlife and entertainment.’

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