Japan’s parliament is set to vote Wednesday on a bill designed to allow casino business in the country.
Both houses the parliament are expected to pass the bill to legalize casinos, opening the way for billions of dollars of potential investment. Bloomberg reported.
If the bill pass the houses, none are likely to open their doors in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to the report, which added that details of the integrated resorts must then be laid out in a second piece of legislation before any casinos can be built.
Japan has become an important spot for tourists, particularly from China. So international gaming companies are taking a serious interest in the country. Among those interested operators are Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands.
CLSA Ltd. believes that Japan could become one of the biggest Asian gambling hubs, with annual casino revenue of as much as $40 billion.
“This is a landmark occasion and should be a shot in the arm as it relates to investor sentiment in all gaming names that could be players in Japan,” Grant Govertsen, an analyst at Union Gaming, wrote in a research note.
The bill passage may be delayed as the main opposition in Japan, Democratic Party, does not support the bill. The opposition party may submit motions to delay its passage on Wednesday.
According to Bloomberg, the bill may face opposition from some members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s junior coalition partner Komeito, which is backed by a Buddhist group. They are reluctant to accept legalization because of concerns over gambling addiction and money laundering.
In Japan, people are allowed to gamble on horse, boat and bicycle racing. A latest survey, published by public broadcaster NHK, showed that only 12% of respondents were in favor of lifting the casino ban, with 44% opposed the move.
The report from Bloomberg suggests that Yokohama and Osaka are potential venues for the first casino resorts. Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike does not seem a support of a casino in the capital.