Anti-addiction bill comes first

Executives of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito have agreed that the next Diet session will prioritize passage of a gambling anti-addiction bill before moving on to the IR Implementation Bill.

This move was a concession both to the Komeito party, whose Buddhist religious supporters are highly antagonistic to the establishment of casinos in Japan; as well as to the general Japanese public, which also opposes the legislation by an overwhelming margin.

During the recent public comment period on the IR Implementation Bill, there were many speakers who expressed fears that it would lead to more severe gambling addiction rates within the country.

Also on Wednesday, Takeshi Iwaya, head of the lawmakers’ league pushing for the passage of the gaming legislation, addressed an international IR conference in Tokyo hosted by the US-Japan Business Council, with support from Caesars Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, and MGM Resorts.

Iwaya stated that he was about 80 percent satisfied with the interim plan presented to the government by the Experts’ Committee this summer, but that a further 20 percent needed to be reexamined when the legislation is debated on the floor of the Diet.

The specific areas that Iwaya highlighted as needing revision or clarification are the limits on casino floor space, the terms of entry to casinos for Japan residents, and the number of IR licenses to be issued to local governments.