December 2014
From The Director


This month we place our bets on the casino bill idling in Japan’s legislature.  With Japan’s economy in full recession and even weaker political capital (despite the recent snap election results), Prime Minister Abe has his hands full these days.  So the odds are not good for swift action on casino gambling.  Nonetheless, the economic prospects for more liberal gambling laws in Japan are tantalizing, to say the least. We have the story for you.

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Imants Katlaps

Managing Director


Casino industry facing tough odds in Japan

Hold your bets on Japan. Attempts by the administration of Prime Minister Abe to roll the dice on relaxing casino gambling restrictions have faced numerous obstacles and stimulated much argument on both sides of the table. Abe’s gambit to dissolve the government’s lower legislative house and hold a snap election on December 14 seems to have mostly paid off for him. However, new casino litigation still seems like a long shot. Even with the odds so high, what are the economic implications for casinos in Japan?

At the moment, legal gambling is alive and well in Japan. However, betting is confined to lotteries, scratch-cards and certain sports: cycling, motorbike, powerboat and horse racing. In addition, there is the huge, semi-legal pachinko and slot machine industry, where players can win “prizes” that are quickly traded for cash at separate, but nearby redemption shops.

However, because pachinko is considered an “amusement,” in the same category as arcade games, operators are not required to pay gaming taxes. And...
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