Japan Moves Toward Legalizing Casinos

Japanese lawmakers have submitted a bill to the Japanese Parliament which would legalize casinos in Japan. The bill, which apparently has cross party support, including from Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, is the culmination of recent momentum prompted by the 2020 Olympics being awarded to Tokyo.

It has been speculated that Japan will follow the same path as Singapore – authorizing large, multi-billion dollar integrated resorts, with strict regulatory requirements. That would likely entail some type of competitive, RFP type process for selection of the casino licenses to be located in Tokyo and Osaka. It has further been speculated that most proposals may involve Japanese companies as local partners teaming up with experienced, global integrated casino resorts developers such as Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Genting Singapore and Melco Crown.

Given the likely scale of the projects and relatively tight timeline to have the casinos ready for 2020 and the Olympics, the bill could be passed in the next session of Japanese parliament’s legislative session, which would be the first half of 2014. This would be the most significant expansion in the global gaming industry since Singapore’s casinos opened in 2010.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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