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Japan Running Out of Time to Legalize Casinos Before the 2020 Summer Olympics

PokerNews Japan
  • Japan once again tables discussion on the passing of the Integrated Resorts gaming bill.

  • “The problem is whether an accord can be reached between the LDP and Komeito,” said a member of the LDP.

Japan once again delayed the approval of the Integrated Resorts gaming bill during their current legislative session, leading many to believe that the country has a slim chance of allowing land-based casinos in time for Tokyo's 2020 Summer Olympics.

Japan currently prohibits casinos despite strong support to pass a gaming bill by the country's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the ruling party in the Japanese parliament otherwise known as the Diet. Additionally minority political parties including the Innovation Party and the Party for Future Generations have previously showed its support for revisions in the country's gaming legislation.

The problem is whether an accord can be reached between the LDP and Komeito.

Japan Times reports that the reasons for tabling the approval of the Integrated Resorts bill is due to the LDP wishing to avoid a conflict with its coalition partner, Komeito, a Buddhist-backed party who has steadfastly been cautious on allowing gambling in the country due to social concerns. It's believed that is one of the primary reasons that the bill was delayed last summer.

“The problem is whether an accord can be reached between the LDP and Komeito,” said a party member of the LDP.

Despite this, many in the country hope that the Integrated Resorts gaming bill will be passed, including Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga. Lifting the current ban and allowing land-based casino is “expected to be a big boost for tourism and regional economies,” Suga said on Monday, holding out hope that the gaming bill will be passed in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The LDP could make another attempt to pass the bill if an extraordinary session of the Diet takes place come autumn. Some lawmakers and casino operators believe that if a bill is not passed this year there will not be enough time to construct casino resorts in Japan before the country hosts the Summer Olympics.

Stay tuned at PokerNews for more developments in the Japanese gaming marketplace.

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