Legalizing gambling in Japan is something that everyone thought was an inevitability. The country had recognized the financial benefits from allowing legal casinos, while there was solid public support. However, that public support has waned in recent months and parliament has struggled to pass through any legislation.
The idea was to open a casino in time for the 2020 Olympics that are taking place in Tokyo. The Olympics and a new five star casino/resort would be the start of driving tourism into Japan. However, with parliament unable to pass legislation legalizing casinos, construction has not started on the site, and an opening date of 2020 looks almost impossible.
Parliament is going away for a holiday at the end of November. If a decision is not made in time for that, it could be months before any meaningful legalization is done. This would put a hold on any plans to start construction on the site for the new casino.
There have been reports of serious tension between the current government and their political opponents. This tension has lead to personal attacks, along with a vehement desire from the opposition to stop this gambling legislation.
People who have been working to get this bill passed are worried that it could be rejected in parliament next year. The country’s current Prime Minister will not want to sink more money and time into a project that is doomed to fail. If he thinks that the gambling legislation does not have enough support, the dream of having a casino ready for the Olympics will die.
There are a few members of parliament who are still optimistic that a compromise can be reached. If the government can make a concise argument of how the casino benefits all of Japan, opponents may put their politics to one side. This will require a lot of lobbying, but time is running out.