Japan Ruling Parties Reintroduce Responsible Gambling Bill

Japan’s ruling parties reintroduced on Friday a bill calling for the implementation of responsible gambling measures and tools, local news outlet Jiji Press reported. According to previous media reports, the nation’s government will possibly be looking to pass the bill before the end of this year’s legislative session of the Diet on December 9.

The passage of that bill is considered a necessary step before Japanese lawmakers move on to crafting, introducing, and adopting the Integrated Resort Implementation Bill, or the legislative piece that will set out the rules under which the country’s casino industry will be run.

According to the Jiji Press, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and its coalition partner Komeito are looking for support from opposition party Nippon Ishin no Kai to pass their responsible gambling and gambling addiction prevention bill. A similar legislative piece was introduced by the ruling parties in the summer, but was never voted on as work on a number of legislative matters was stalled due to this fall’s snap election.

Generally speaking, the new bill will seek the implementation of measures that would control the gambling environment in the country after the opening of its first casinos, and would minimize gambling addiction risks among residents that could arise from the upcoming gambling expansion.

The legislative piece also proposes the establishment of special programs that would consult and treat gambling addicts or people with problem gambling behavior and would support their “social rehabilitation”. According to earlier reports from the Pacific Ocean island nation, lawmakers could push for quick enactment of the responsible gambling bill, possibly before the end 2017. The Diet will thus be able to focus its attention on the next legislative stage in allowing the construction and operation of casino resorts in the country.

Casino gambling was officially legalized in Japan last December, when the government passed the Integrated Resort Promotion Bill. However, the actual development of the nation’s casino industry cannot begin before the above-mentioned Implementation Bill is enacted. Analysts believe that this might happen in the first half of 2018.

Global Focus on Japan’s Casino Market

The future of Japan’s casino industry has intrigued the global gambling community due to the ambitious forecasts that it could be worth between $10 billion and $25 billion once first casino resorts open doors. A number of casino operators have been flocking to the island nation over the past several years to explore their opportunities for developing a profitable business there.

Most recently, Hong Kong-listed integrated resort developer Melco Resorts & Entertainment pledged to do “whatever it takes” to win an entry ticket into Japan’s nascent casino industry. Melco’s Chairman, Hong Kong billionaire businessman Lawrence Ho, said during his late-November tour around Japan that he will relocate his company’s headquarters to the island nation if they win a casino license.

Las Vegas giants Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International as well as Florida-based Hard Rock International have also been among the companies to have expressed vivid interest in entering Japan’s casino market.

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