In Japan, a team of legislators from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are to reportedly begin meeting later this month in order to draft specific legislation designed to govern the licensing and operation of any new integrated casino resorts.

According to a report from The Japan Times newspaper, last month saw the House Of Councillors approve the Bill For The Promotion Of Integrated Resort Facilities, which is better known as the “Casino Bill”, after the controversial measure had earlier been ratified by the lower House Of Representatives. The enabling legislation obliges the government to establish rules within one year that will legalize integrated casino resorts while establishing regulations to deal with specific issues such as money laundering and problem gambling.

The newspaper reported that the legislative team will be led by Takeshi Iwaya from the House Of Representatives and it is to examine a host of issues related to the establishment of integrated casino resorts while moreover discussing and proposing new rules and policies.

A poll from Kyodo News conducted in December before the “Casino Bill” was passed reportedly showed that 69% of respondents were against lifting the current ban on integrated casino resorts although there is strong support for the new legislation among the governments of the Honshu prefectures of Wakayama and Osaka. Ichiro Matsui, the governor for the latter administrative district, has long lobbied for an integrated casino resort for his area while Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka recently voiced support for a similar development for his constituency.

“Integrated casino resorts are one effective method for local revitalization and can contribute to the tourism industry as well as local employment,” read a statement from Nisaka published in December.

However, not all politicians are fans with The Japan Times reporting that the question of whether to allow integrated casino resorts will be a key issue in the Yokohama mayoral election, which is set to take place before the end of August. Kazuyoshi Nagashima, a former House Of Representatives member from the Democratic Party Of Japan, announced his candidacy last week by explicitly opposing any new gambling venue for the nation’s second largest city while incumbent Fumiko Hayashi, who is expected to receive the backing of the Liberal Democratic Party, has indicated that she would welcome such a facility.

“Sometimes people in Kobe say “why don’t we get a casino”,” Kobe mayor Kizo Hisamoto told the newspaper last month. “The fact is there are concerns about increased numbers of gambling addicts and the effect it would have on younger people. I don’t plan to suggest to either the people or the business community that discussion on casinos begin.”

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