Japanese Lawmakers Pass the Contentious Casino Bill

The decision by Japanese lawmakers ended 15 years of heated political debates and opened the way for lucrative projects, which combine gambling with five-star hotels, conference space, and shopping centers. The upper house of Japan's national assembly was responsible for passing The Bill Promoting Implementation of Specified Integrated Resort Areas, popularly referred to as the ‘Casino Bill.’

According to Diane Mullenex, a gambling law professional who works at Pinsent Masons, the renowned law company that founded Out-Law.com, Casino Bill would allow Japan to cement a top spot as a reliable gambling tourism destination in the whole of Asia. The nation will have a competitive advantage over Macau due to its vast resources and ability to attract foreign investors.

Currently, the Japanese law forbids gambling or provision of gambling services. In Japan, gambling is a crime that can attract a hefty penalty or long-term prison sentences. However, the Japanese law permits some gambling activities, including gambling on pachinko, which is an arcade machine game that resembles a pinball, and horse sprint betting.

The proponents of the Bill see it as a key strategy for transforming Japan into a tourism-oriented nation. The Bill received the support of the ruling party, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and the conservative opposition. Speaking during the plenary session, LDP parliamentarian Ryosuke Kozuki stated that development of casinos would be instrumental in luring more than 40 million tourists on a yearly basis by 2020. Before passing of the Bill, the LDP had proposed significant amendments such as defining the responsibility of the government in combating gambling addiction and requiring the review of the law after the first five years of its enforcement.

The enactment of the Bill does not permit the establishment of casinos immediately. The Bill sets a platform for further legislation to take place. For instance, law guiding the building of new resorts that will harbor the casinos need to be formulated and passed.

Mullenex stated that Japan being the fourth largest economy in the world, avails numerous investment opportunities for casino operators. Mullenex gave examples of the booming illegal gambling circles, numerous studies that have documented the increased number of citizens practicing pachinko betting, and the well-performing gambling sects that are authorized by the government. Investors can also tap into other lucrative sectors beyond casinos. She added that the legalization of gambling in Japan through the passing of the Bill would offer a perfect opportunity for global operators to venture into the Japanese Market.

Casino's Can Help Japan Recover Economy

Japan is embarking on a new financial venture, and it is hoping that it will boost it's sagging economy: Gambling. Japanese legislatures have been going back and forth about this proposition for nearly 15 years now, with a decision being reached to finally legalize this activity. The main reason, of course, being money. While many people see this as a sure bet when they see how well other countries do financially with legalized gambling, critics will always point out the dark side as the reason not to legalize something: Organized crime and money laundering.

What Japan has realized is that there will be a criminal element anywhere there is a large amount of money being made legally, and gambling is no exception to that rule. It is important to note though that while gambling has been legalized, this new industry in Japan has not been regulated yet.

This could take upwards five years to implement, and the longer it takes, the more in-detail that the rules and regulations will be. Or at least, should be. This is good because it gives the legislature more time to make laws that could funnel portions of profits to law enforcement agencies. With a new industry like this on the horizon, additions of law enforcement personnel, and maybe even new agencies, are in order and they have to get paid somehow. It may as well be from the industry they are helping to protect.

This would be the prudent thing to do as it would drastically reduce the criminal element in this industry before it even has the chance to flourish. It might also ease the minds of the critics when they see proactive steps being taken to keep the criminals at bay. There is also the concern over addiction. People the world have the problem of gambling addiction and there are programs that do help. Profits from this industry could also be distributed to current and new programs and treatment centers to help the people who are currently addicted to gambling.

It is highly doubtful that more casinos will lead to more gambling addicts, as the black market for gambling has been in Japan for a very long time. The gamblers are already there, legalizing this activity can help ensure that there is more help available to those who need it.

While no one needs to sell Japan on the idea of legalized gambling anymore, it is good to point out the positive attributes to people who still have moral issues about it. The shady sides of this can be taken care of, it will bring more jobs to the people of the city or cities that are awarded casino's and it will get more money flowing through other sectors of the local and national economies. If this is handled correctly, it can be a win-win for everyone involved.

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