Komeito calls for tougher casino regulation

    The ruling coalition Komeito party are of the view that the proposed terms of IR regulation are not strict enough.

    The coalition’s views are a stark contrast to many conservatives who have been echoing the complaints of operators that the regulations may negatively impact investment levels.

    First of all, Komeito is pushing back against the notion that more than three IRs should be licensed in the first round. In an interview with Bloomberg, Kiyohiko Toyama, the head of Komeito’s IR project team, stated, “For Komeito, I think it will be extremely hard to go higher than three… If it goes well we could increase it a bit. Komeito is not saying three should be the limit forever, but let’s try three to start with.”

    Toyama is the most insistently pro-IR lawmaker within the Komeito party.

    In a Komeito party meeting held on Tuesday, the plan for a US$19 casino entry fee for Japan residents also came under fire from Komeito lawmakers, who argued that the entry fee should be much higher, perhaps somewhere in the US$70 to US$90 range per individual entry.

    This view also contrasts sharply with the pro-casino sentiment of many ruling party lawmakers, some of whom want there to be no entry fee at all.

    Even without Komeito’s support, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has more than enough votes to pass the IR Implementation Bill into law, but the Abe government also has a strong incentive not to alienate Komeito too much, especially with Constitution revision at the top of its policy agenda.