Asia Minute: Japan’s Casino Gambling Plans

Apr 9, 2018

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Hawai‘i’s state legislature is in recess today, but a number of bills will be returning for consideration and discussion later this week. One issue that is NOT going anywhere this session is casino gambling. But on that topic, it’s a very different story in Japan. HPR’s Bill Dorman has it in today’s Asia Minute.

Gambling proposals have been kicking around Japan for years. The country actually legalized casino gambling in 2016, but don’t expect to be a high roller in the land of the rising sun any time soon.

It’s taking time to work out details in the national parliament, the Diet.

Those details include picking locations for resort casinos, deciding who should operate them, and setting up a regulatory structure for the industry.

Japan’s ruling political party and its coalition partner made progress on several points over the past week—such as planning to tax casino revenue at a flat rate of 30 percent. But the Diet needs to approve the plans, and lawmakers already have a heavy agenda for a session that ends in June.

Some outlines of the gambling landscape are taking shape. According to Japanese media, there are likely to be three casino resorts in different locations around the country—Osaka is one of the leading candidates.

Credit Jamie Adams / Wikimedia Commons

Admission will be sort of a reverse kama‘āina pricing. It will be free for foreigners and a little more than 50 dollars for locals. That’s the way Singapore does it—the idea is that it will curb gambling addictions among residents.

Last week, Nomura Securities issued a report saying the earliest date for the Diet to act on the next steps is likely to be the second half of this year.