Japan’s long mooted casino bill achieved a major milestone earlier this week when it passed the lower house – but there is still a long way to go before the gaming industry’s dream becomes reality.
As reported by Japanese media yesterday, the “IR Promotion” bill faces a much tougher task gaining approval from the upper house which is controlled by opposition member Namba Shoji, whose DPP party stormed out of this week’s vote. Mr Shoji will have to allow a vote first before the bill can be voted on by the upper house cabinet committee.
Even if this occurs, the “IR Promotion” bill is only step one in the process, with a second “IR Implementation” bill needing to pass through both houses as well in order to lock in the framework for the construction and operation of integrated resorts.
Nevertheless, Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen believes this week’s developments represent a huge step forward.
“That the bill has made it this far is cause for optimism,” he said. “Even though hopeful passage through the upper house would still leave the first IR opening date a good five years out, it would be a shot in the arm for sentiment on gaming names, which are already enjoying a tailwind on Macau’s recovery.
Govertsen said that, should the IR bills pass, “We continue to believe that the two major metropolitan areas of Tokyo and Osaka will each be awarded at least one license, with the possibility of multiple licenses issued for smaller-scale IRs outside of these two major metros.”