Japan’s legislation opens up the last untapped market for gambling

In a move almost 20 years in the making, Japan is finally going to legalize gambling. A law enacted on 20th July made it legal for casinos to be built in the long untapped market of the mainland. The move, however, was met with a lot of opposition from factions that believed this
would cause wagering addiction among members of the public. Polls conducted by media organizations showed the public to be against the building of such establishments. 53% of
respondents interviewed in the polls are of the opinion that the country is better off without casinos. A no-confidence motion was brought up to prevent the passing of the bill but things did go in favor of supporters of the bill.

A bill similar to it was passed earlier in late 2016 and it got the ball rolling. The law approved the construction of three Las Vegas styled casinos even though the specific locations were not named.

More about the bill

The piece of legislation lays out a framework that would guide the operation of casinos once they are set up. The bill itself is named the Integrated Resorts (IR) bill while the earlier legislation of 2016 was known as the Integrated-Resort Promotion Law. The choice of name for the bill
is no surprise as it is meant to mask the gambling aspect.

The legislation allows for three casino licenses which are going to be issued with a 30% tax for gaming. This shall be paid to the central government and local governments. The bill also stipulates the amount of casino floor allowed for every resort and has it at 3% of all total resort floor space.

Renowned casino operators such as MGM Resorts International, Las Vegas Sands, Hard Rock International and Caesar’s Entertainment have shown interest in the market. With a track record of running establishments with noteworthy success, this would be another challenge that all the big names are excited to take on.

According to the bill, international visitors will enjoy free entry into the casinos; however, locals will be charged a $50 tax, which amounts to 6,000 yen. The number of visits to such establishments has also been capped at three per week and ten per month for locals.

The last frontier for gambling entities

Every major gambling market in the world has been exploited by major gambling establishments all through the world. Japan was the next big potential market that remained untapped. According to expert forecasting, the market has the potential to gross 25 billion dollars in a year once everything is running smoothly. Though this is a meager sum compared to the 70 billion a
year gross income from the Las Vegas scene, it is an exciting development for stakeholders who can’t wait to jump into the new market.

Possible locations for gambling resorts

Osaka is without a doubt the number one location for the first casino license. The city plans to build an entertainment complex at the manmade island of Yumeshima that would hold the casino. Yokohama and Tokyo are the other prospective cities. Wakayama and Sasebo in central Japan as well as Tomakomai in the island of Hokkaido are also possible locations.