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September 20, 2021

Legal framework for resorts that combine casinos with hotels and large event facilities

Japan casino bill gains first Lower House approval

Japan casino bill gains first Lower House approval
A bill to legalize forms of casino gambling in Japan passed a lower house committee Friday, after ruling coalition partner Komeito withdrew its earlier opposition to the day's vote at the Diet panel.
Japan | 12/05/2016

A bill to legalize forms of casino gambling in Japan passed a lower house committee Friday, after ruling coalition partner Komeito withdrew its earlier opposition to the day's vote at the Diet panel.

T

he bill gained support from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, while two of the panel's three members of Komeito, which is backed by major lay-Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai, opposed the bill out of concern it could worsen the issue of gambling addiction and other social ills.

After meeting Friday morning with leader Natsuo Yamaguchi and other party heavyweights, Komeito Secretary General Yoshihisa Inoue indicated the party would not protest the vote in the House of Representatives' Cabinet committee in the afternoon.

Komeito members had failed to come to a consensus on the bill at a party meeting Thursday, leaving the decision of how to approach the bill up to the party leadership.

The group of mostly LDP lawmakers sponsoring the "integrated resorts" bill say casinos could help sustain the flow of foreign tourist to Japan after the expected boost from the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 fades

The bill, formal deliberation of which began on Wednesday, provides a legal framework for resorts that combine casinos with hotels and large event facilities.

Current Japanese law bans casino gambling but effectively allows gambling at pinball-like "pachinko" and slot-machine parlors. Punters are also allowed to bet on publically run horse, bicycle and powerboat races.

With time running out to get the casino bill through both Diet houses before the current extraordinary session ends on Dec. 14, the LDP is now expected to encourage a lower house plenary session vote, the next hurdle for the bill, next Tuesday.

Lawmakers from the main opposition Democratic Party have said the LDP's envisioned schedule for the bill is far too rushed to allow proper deliberation.

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