Casino legislation in Japan will take effect next week, which will set the regulatory standards for the country’s new industry and allow companies to begin bidding for licenses this fall.
According to GGR Asia, Japan’s Integrated Resorts Implementation Act will take effect Monday, July 19. The law will make casino gambling legal as long as it is being run by a licensed operator. Most forms of gambling were illegal before the passage of this bill.
The bill was originally passed in July 2018, but it took several years for the National Diet to work out the details and create a regulatory environment it deemed worthy.
The IRIA also created the Japan Casino Regulatory Commission to set the rules for operators to work under. Earlier this year, the Commission drafted regulations for the industry and put them up for public comment until May 9. There was no real pushback and they will also be implemented this Monday.
The regulations set up guidelines for the upcoming licensing procedure, background checks, the authorization of major shareholders, verification of casino employees, a list of authorized games and rules, the calculation of gross gaming revenue, as well as the size and structural standards for the gaming areas.
With everything codified under the law, the bidding process will begin shortly after. Companies may begin bidding for a gaming license this October.
When the issue first started circulating through the government three years ago, all of the industry’s biggest companies were interested in obtaining a license. That has since changed.
Both Caesars and Las Vegas Sands Corp. have bailed on plans to build a casino in the country, and MGM Resorts’ interest is waning as the process for casino legalization proves to be an arduous one.
Under the current plan, there will be four licenses awarded, which will bring a casino to the cities of Osaka, Yokohama, Nagasaki and Wakayama. However, if the Yokohama’s mayor loses her reelection bid this fall, the city may remove itself from the running.
Mayor Fumiko Hayashi’s opponents are running on an aggressive anti-gambling agenda and there is plenty of negative public opinion surrounding the casino issue.