Japan casino opening. Japan's Diet approves opening of casino resorts despite opposition

A government survey released last September estimated around 3. Whether Japan can implement effective countermeasures against gambling addiction was also a major issue. Although a law allowing integrated resorts to open took effect inadditional legislative steps on their actual operation were necessary.

The first integrated resort will likely open in the mids after the government spends some time selecting locations, with Nagasaki, Osaka and Wakayama prefectures as well as Hokkaido so far expressing readiness to host casinos.

By legalizing casino gambling, the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says Japan will be able to attract more foreign visitors and revitalize regional economies outside Tokyo. Earlier this month, Okada filed suit against Tiger Resort in an effort to reverse his removal from the board. In Japan, de facto gambling has long been permitted in slot machine and pachinko parlors as they are categorized as gaming instead of gambling, but the average amount of money to be spent on casino bets is almost certain to be much higher.

The approval of the bill by the House of Councillors will allow the establishment of casinos in up to three locations as part of "integrated resorts," comprising hotels, conference rooms and shopping facilities.

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It is estimated that these resorts could start opening in The Diet session, which was extended for a month by the government in a bid to secure passage of the casino legislation and other controversial bills, will formally end on Sunday.

Some projections have shown Japanese nationals would account for between 70 and 80 percent of casino visitors, contrary to the government's expectations of drawing more foreigners. Tiger Resort, which operates the Okada Manila casino resort, is opening in Tokyo to explore the potential of an integrated resort bid in Japan.

But it is unclear whether Japan will succeed in attracting wealthy foreign individuals as it is likely to face fierce competition from regional rivals, including Macau, Singapore and South Korea. In an attempt to ensure the enactment of the legislation, the government and the ruling coalition parties extended the term of the parliamentary session, which was originally scheduled to end on June In terms of economic effects, calculations by the Daiwa Institute of Research said the construction of three facilities could initially generate an economic impact of 5 trillion yen and 2 trillion yen annually once they open.

The bill allows for up to three integrated resorts to be built in Japan, with cities and prefectures preparing to partner with private-sector operators to pitch their plans to the national government. But the scope of the casino legislation goes beyond that and critics have said discussions in the Diet were insufficient, while a number of issues remain unsolved, including how to prevent a potential rise in crime.

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A total of detailed points of law will be decided afterward without Diet deliberations, including a scheme allowing casino operators to lend betting funds to players, which legal experts argue could increase the number of addiction cases. Tiger Resort is based in the Philippines, and is best-known for operating the Okada Manila casino resort. Universal Mired in Battle with Founder One thing operators will try to avoid is any controversy surrounding their bids, something that Universal and Tiger Resort may not be able to stay away from anytime soon.

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The vote was held on the de facto final day of the six- month-long Diet session, after a panel of the ruling coalition-controlled chamber approved the bill on Thursday. Japan already has so-called legal public gambling, including horse racing and boat racing.

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Heavy hitters — including Las Vegas Sands Corp. The more powerful House of Representatives already endorsed the bill about a month ago. Universal Entertainment is currently embroiled in a dispute with Japan casino opening billionaire Kazuo Okada, the man who founded the company nearly four decades ago.

Still, the government has said Japan's measures are among the best in the world as they will only allow local people to visit casinos up to three times per week and 10 times per month by using government-issued My Number identity cards, embedded with IC chips, to count their visits.