A group of Japanese lawmakers, led by a member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), supports casino gambling and plans to legalize it in Japan – the world’s third-largest economy.
At the moment, casinos are not legal in Japan, although many people are already active gamblers. Pachinko, a game similar to pinball, generates some $200 billion in revenue each year – about the same as Toyota Motor Corp, according to the international press.
Japan could become a profitable gaming center, providing tax revenues to raise the state’s shrinking funds, analysts think. If two big resorts were approved, Japan’s gaming market could be worth at least $10 billion, more than Las Vegas’ $6.2 billion in 2012, according to the independent broker group CLSA.
The pro-casino group of lawmakers intends to submit a promotional bill to parliament in the autumn. Concrete laws could be approved during the next two years, Takeshi Iwaya, the deputy head of the lobby of more than 100 lawmakers, said.
However, many analysts do not think the bill will have enough political support. In 2012, the attempt of introducing a casino bill to raise money for rebuilding northeast Japan after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami failed in the face of a poll conducted in December.
In March, Shinzo Abe said he could see the economic benefits of introducing casinos, but he also said that additional studies have to be made in order to estimate the potential social costs.