Japan gets another chance to push casinos

A Japanese parliamentary committee is due to meet in Tokyo this Friday to set out the legislative agenda for the extraordinary Diet session that begins later this month.

Among the potential agenda is the proposal to legalize casinos in Japan, according to the Financial Times reports.

The so-called integrated resort promotion bill, which would push for casino legalization in Japan is being seen as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s last chance to pass a landmark gaming bill before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The notion of allowing casinos in Japan is one that has come close to fruition but ultimately dashed on a number of occasions, starting as early as the 1990s.

In a report from Union Gaming in July, the brokerage said gaming legislation in Japan has become more likely due to a change in the political landscape, warranting casino operators to “step up” their efforts.

In a note from the brokerage, as Abe’s LDP now holds outright majority in both houses of the legislature, this means the party can now push through legislation without the help of any other political party.

The likelihood of IR legislation passing “now feels better than 50/50,” said the brokerage.

“Abe’s agenda is all that matters now. With the LDP able to pass simple legislation at will, the only thing holding back the IR bill would be where it lands on the priority ladder. The timing of when Abe wants to tackle the national defense bill (constitutional change, 2/3rds majority required, which means he needs coalition support) will determine when the IR bill – that only requires a simple majority – is heard,” said Union Gaming at the time.

In a note to clients on Tuesday, CLSA’s Jay Defibaugh said there was “less than 50 per cent chance that the first stage integrated resorts promotion bill will be passed during the extraordinary Diet session,” due to time constraints.

Should the bill be delayed beyond autumn 2017, according to analysts, it could fall further down the agenda as Tokyo and the rest of the country prepare for the 2020 Olympics.