Japan Inches Closer to Legalizing Casino Gambling

As far as tourist destinations are concerned, the country of Japan is full of them. Between its recent and ancient history, there is so much to take in and even more to learn. Apart from historical attractions, there is a plethora of new-age sights to take in being that Japan is one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world. Out of all the things you can see and do in Japan, one of the things that remains strictly forbidden is casino gambling. There are no casinos in the country at the present moment, and that is something Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is looking to change in a hurry.

Today, we received some good news as a measure to allow for casino gambling has moved one step closer to being approved. With time running out on the current parliamentary session, the measure is being hurried along as quickly as possible.tokyo_780x520px

Abe Hoping Casinos Boost Tourism Revenues

Today, the Lower House of Japan’s parliament passed a measure that would pave the way for the existence of live casino gambling. Now, the same measure has been moved on to the Upper House where it will be up for approval. Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party are pushing for this measure to be decided upon—and hopefully approved—by the end of next week due to the fact that Japan’s current parliamentary session comes to an end shortly before the Christmas holiday.

Before going any further, it must be noted that the measure currently being voted on, if approved, does not make it legal for live casinos to be established right away. Instead, this measure is a large outline for how the country will handle the licensing of casino operations as well as how casinos will handle gambling addiction.

Specifically, how casinos will prevent known gambling addicts from coming to casinos and feeding their addictions. Once all of this has been formulated, the measure will then need to pass through the Upper and Lower houses before casino properties can be built and ultimately opened for business.

People that would like to see casinos established in the country are hoping that casinos will be open for business by the 2020s, and possibly in time for the 2020 Summer Olympics, set to be held in Tokyo.

Japan’s Current Gambling Landscape

At the present moment, Japan’s legal framework strictly forbids the existence of casinos but does not completely and totally restrict all forms of gambling. For example, organizations who are licensed by the government are able to offer lotteries and horse betting where approved. Another Japanese game, known as Pachinko, is also allowed in approved halls. This game is a lot like pinball and sees players win prizes that can eventually be exchanged for cash at shops that are not strictly legal, but also not illegal either.

Since Shinzo Abe came into power at the end of 2012, legalizing and setting up a casino industry has been a goal of his. At its core, his desire to establish a network of casino resorts throughout Japan has more to do with boosting tourism and the revenues that this industry brings in on an annual basis. After all, Abe would like to see the casinos in Japan model those in other parts of Asia. This model would consist of casinos that do not just stand alone by themselves, but rather feature hotels, restaurants, and other amenities as well.

As is usually the case surrounding situations like this one, proponents of legalized gambling see it as a key to boosting the tourism industry while opponents think that it will only worsen gambling addiction and present opportunities for criminals to partake in criminal activities.

At the present moment, it seems as though most Japanese residents oppose the idea of legalized casinos seen as recent polls, , show that in upwards of 60% of respondents oppose the legalization of casinos. Because this is not something that will be converted into a national vote, the opinions of average Japanese citizens are not necessarily being too heavily considered. This is, perhaps, even truer when you consider that tourists are going to be the prospective casinos’ main target.