It has been more than six months since Japanese lawmakers last conducted any meaningful discussion on IRs, with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party having previously indicated it was working closely with local government, community groups and opposition parties to finalize both a Problem Gambling Bill and the all-important IR Implementation Bill.
An expert committee charged with setting the framework for Japan’s casino legislation also held its final meeting in late July but any further progress was put on hold shortly after when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called a snap election in September.
Their recommendations, expected to form the key requirements for Japanese integrated resorts as set out in the IR Implementation Bill, will be anxiously awaited by the world’s leading casino operators.
Before the Diet went on break, concerns had been raised within the industry that the government was considering extra restrictions on potential IRs including a limit of 15,000 square meters of casino floor space, heavy restrictions on locals and a possible casino entry fee.
Commenting on the proposed limitations at the time, Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen said, “The framework seems to become more restrictive by the day and when coupled with what are likely to be astronomical project costs, could result in some of the biggest operators sitting this one out.
“In other words, Japan is on the verge of one-upping the failed gaming expansions of Korea and Vietnam by moving forward with a gaming construct that 1) can't fulfill the number one stated goal of Japan’s IR development – tourism growth – and 2) is so poorly designed that ROIs shrink to a level that makes participation on the part of the global IR developers much less likely.”
Source: GMB / ASGAM