The likelihood of gambling in Japan — estimated to be the world’s second-largest market — just became stronger as various business leaders have pledged their support. According to Bloomberg, Lawson Chief Executive Officer Takeshi Niinami, who heads Japan’s second-largest convenience store chain, and Suntory Executive Vice President Shingo Torii, who heads up the country’s third-largest brewery, are among those in favor of gambling.
According to the former head of the Japan Tourism Agency, Hiroshi Mizohata, a group of corporate and academic leaders are establishing a group designed to support a pro-gambling bill introduced to lawmakers last month. The bill would legalize casino resorts, which MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd. Have both expressed interest in building.
Along with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, casino resorts would “provide a spark for not just tourism, but also for the revitalization of local economies in the countryside," according to Mizohata, who also added that they would like to "get various stakeholders involved.”
The group, which will be financed by membership fees and decline funding from casino operators, will host a preparatory meeting on Feb. 5 and then officially form around May.
Casinos are currently banned in Japan, though betting on horse, boat and bicycle races is allowed. If casinos were legalized, it’s estimated $10 billion in revenue would be generated annually.
For more on this story, check out the Bloomberg story by Yuki Yamaguchi and Takashi Hirokawa.
*Lead photo courtesy of deviantart.net.