It has been a long time coming, but casino gambling is now finally legal in Japan. The country’s upper house of parliament has passed the bill that will permit three casinos to open as integrated resorts. The decision remains controversial, however, as more than 60% of Japanese residents are against legalizing casinos.
Many Rules and Restrictions Apply
There are plenty of caveats tat come along with the casino legislation. Operators will have to pay 30% tax on gross gaming revenue, and the casino is only permitted to occupy 3% of the size of the resort. To prevent problem gambling, Japanese residents will be banned from visiting the casinos more than 3 times a week or 10 times a month. While the casinos will be free to enter for tourists, locals will have to pay ¥6,000 ($54) per visit.
Now, it is up to the various regions to bid for the ability to host one of the casinos, but this process is likely to be time consuming. The government has yet to establish any deadlines, and still has to create a regulatory body to deal with the bidding process.
Several potential locations have emerged as ideal places for casino resorts in Japan. Osaka, Tokyo and Nagasaki are among the regions that are likely to bid for the right to host casinos. There are also some remote locations that are likely to apply, such as Hokkaido. Recently, Caesars Entertainment has present a plan for a potential casino resort in the popular skiing destionation.
The properties will also be home to restaurants, shopping malls, theatres and other entertainment venues. As such, they will be a huge boost to the local economy, creating plenty more jobs and bringing in extra entertainment revenue.
Casino Operators Very Interested
Casino operators from around the world have expressed interest in opening venues in Japan. MGM has plans to build a “uniquely Japanese, world-class integrated resort” while slots manufacturer Sega Sammy Holdings is already looking for an opportunity to gain a majority stake in one of Japan’s casino projects.
Sheldon Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands has also stepped forward, saying that he would spend up to $10 billion to create a casino resort in Japan. His company has expressed interest in urban centers like Tokyo and Yokohama.
There is still a long road ahead. It is unlikely that the casinos will be open before 2020. Still, operators are getting ready, and there will be plenty of dealers at the ready, as Japan continues to churn out Casino Academy graduates.