Is Komeito Trying to Kill Japan's Gambling Market?
As a survey showed strong concerns over the legalization of gambling in Japan, the Buddhist party of Komeito gets ready to stall the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill.
The legalisation of casinos in Japan has been a contentious issue for quite some time.
In December, the National Diet enacted a law to legalise casinos, but a second step is necessary before things can go any further. Now, as the deadline approaches, Komeito has expressed its concerns.
Before gaming operators can break ground on casinos or obtain a gambling licenses, a second bill needs to be passed.
This relies on the approval of the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill, which details the how casinos are regulated and taxed along with where they can be located and how many gaming licenses are issued.
The Komeito is a Japanese political party founded by members of the Soka Gakkai, a Buddhist movement founded in 1930.
The members of the party are not yet convinced that the second bill should be passed this year, and have instead suggested postponing the enactment until next year or another time in the future.
They want to obtain more public opinion on the matter before Japan takes the final steps in allowing gaming operators to open up casinos in the country.
"I want discussions to proceed while paying close attention to various responses from the general public," says Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi.
The suggestion for postponement reflects the public’s scepticism of the bill. According to a survey by Japanese broadcaster NHK, 44% of respondents opposed the legalisation of casinos with just 12% who supported it and 34% who remained undecided.
The Komeito aims to give Japanese residents more of a say on how casinos should be operated when and if they are to open.
The Japanese casino industry could generate upwards of $7 million in gross gaming revenue per year. While legalising gambling venues would be a boon to the economy, public concern may thwart the initiative.