Specifics of the draft statute or what is referred to as the implementation bill will be detailed for the casino industry in the country by the government’s task force, including how the new casinos will be administered and regulated; what tax regime will be applied to them; the number of licenses that will be issued; and their location.
With the passing of the “Act Promoting Implementation of Specified Integrated Resort Areas” the last week of December, Japan could see the legalization of two integrated casino resorts as soon as next year.
At the government’s task force’s first meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quoted as saying, “To realise clean casinos, we will introduce regulations at the world’s highest standards and develop a system to properly enforce them,” as reported by the local news agency. Abe reportedly added, “Through those measures, we aim to create attractive Japanese-style integrated resorts.”
The task force reportedly includes officials from various government agencies, and accountants, lawyers, economists and experts in other fields will be invited to discuss issues such as licensing and operating, as well as tax and financial issues. According to the report, the Japanese government is planning to submit the casino legislation during a possible extraordinary session of the parliament this fall.
Interest in developing an integrated resort, including a casino, in Japan has been expressed by most major global casino operators. Crowding the playing field, Wynn Resorts Ltd. (NASDAQ: WYNN), Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), Genting Singapore Plc, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, and Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd. could all end up competing for the potentially lucrative operating rights.
While it’s likely that casino locations and operators won’t be decided on by Japan until 2019, and investment analysts have said the country’s first casinos will probably debut beyond 2021, the race is very much on among potential investors.
Plans for securing one of the first casino resorts once the implementation law is passed have already been put in motion by some local governments in Japan. On Monday, the Japan Times newspaper reported that Osaka Prefecture established a new bureau whose job will be to attract prospective developers and to formulate policies in order to deal with problem gamblers, according to the news agency.
Other changes in Japan include the new law that recently went into effect, which recognizes Bitcoin as a type of payment method in the country.