Japan’s integrated casino resort bill was passed by the country’s House of Representatives on Tuesday although a number of contentious issues are yet to be resolved, reports The Japan News.
Akio Fukuda of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan said the bill’s opponents would continue to tackle what they see as the legislation’s shortcomings as it passes to the upper house, the House of Councillors.
“It will destroy the country and plunge the people into misery. It’s not a feasible growth strategy,” said Fukuda.
However, Seiji Kihara of the Liberal Democratic Party countered, saying the bill would “act as a primer for new growth and business.”
One area of contention is on limits on the size of the casino floor, only the proportion of total resort area that can be dedicated to casino use. With no upper limit on resort size set, there is no material limit on the overall size of the new casinos. As a result, “some of the biggest casinos in the world could be built,” said the CDPJ’s Fukuda.
Initial proposals set an upper limit of 15,000sq.m but this has been stripped from the bill.
There are also concerns regarding casinos loaning players money as well as over the proposed Casino Supervisory Committee, which could include members from casino operators.
COMMENT: Japan may seem on the brink of legalising casino gaming but there remains a number of legislative hurdles to overcome. While lawmakers debate the detailed provisions of future regulation (for it will pass, in some form), a long road beyond beckons with lengthy competitive processes in prospect for those seeking to qualify to apply for a licence. As the comments above suggest, there is much talking to be done yet.