Casino gambling could become legal in Japan within five years, as a group of 150 lawmakers from different parties have agreed, in a rare occasion of political cooperation, that the measure would support economic growth in the country.
The process of making gambling legal could begin in the next two years, driven by success stories of similar businesses from the U.S., the example of other Asian countries and the hope for economic recovery.
Introducing casino gambling in Japan would “help promote tourism, encourage business, create jobs, and boost local development,” said Takeshi Iwaya, a representative of the Liberal Democratic Party. “Neighboring areas are contemplating similar plans, so if we don’t hurry, we may risk missing out on a big opportunity.”
Currently, even if gambling is technically illegal in Japan, a number of bets are allowed, like those on bicycle, motorboat, motorcycle and horse racing, as well as pachinko, a popular vertical pinball-like game similar to the slot machines in the casinos from the West.
Japanese politicians are discussing the possibility of making gambling legal for about 10 years.
Japan could get revenues of up to $10 billion from the new industry, according to an estimation by The Wall Street Journal.