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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 July 11 - 17  > US casino lobby boasts it educated Japanese lawmakers to work for casino legalization
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2018 July 11 - 17 TOP3 [POLITICS]

US casino lobby boasts it educated Japanese lawmakers to work for casino legalization

July 17, 2018

“The passage of legislation in Japan that makes possible the development of integrated resorts is truly historic.” Geoff Freeman, President and CEO of the American Gaming Association (AGA), which represents the U.S. casino industry, stated just after the enactment of the law to legalize casinos in the Japanese parliament at the end of 2016.

The legislation on the promotion of integrated resorts (IR) which lifts the ban on casino gambling operations in Japan was enacted at the House of Representatives on December 15, 2016 with a majority vote of the Liberal Democratic, Komei, and “Ishin no Kai” parties. However, 70% of the general public were opposed to the legalization of casinos. Furthermore, five major dailies stressed the need for thorough Diet deliberations regarding lifting the ban on casino gambling.

After the pro-casino lawmaker-initiated IR promotion law paved the way for allowing private-sector gambling in Japan, the move for casino legalization entered the next stage. The government introduced a bill to set the rules for the operation of casino facilities, the so-called “casino implementation bill” which is under Diet discussion.

The AGA statement provides background information regarding the passage of the IR promotion law. It states, “ AGA has made significant efforts to educate Japanese lawmakers…,” and “When Prime Minister Abe traveled to Washington, DC for a state visit last year, AGA hosted Japanese Diet members to further educate them about the gaming industry.”

In the March 8, 2013 House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting, Prime Minister Abe said that the idea of allowing the private sector to operate casinos has merit. At that time, U.S. casino businesses such as Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, and Rush Street announced that they are ready to make a one-trillion-yen investment in casino development in Japan.

U.S. casino corporations have spent time, money, and much effort to lobby for the opening of Japan for casino resorts. They are now eager to open their establishments in Japan which they regard as a golden market opportunity. It is unacceptable for the Japanese government to enable U.S. casino operators to entice the general public to gamble in their desire for profits.

Past related articles:
> 70% of casino profits in Japan may go back to overseas casino owners [June 26, 2018]
> Extension of Diet session to force through controversial bills on labor reform and casino development is unacceptable [June 21, 2018]
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