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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 October 14 - 20  > Casino law should be abolished as preconditions for 'huge profits' are gone
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2020 October 14 - 20 [POLITICS]

Casino law should be abolished as preconditions for 'huge profits' are gone

October 20, 2020
The Suga government is succeeding to the predecessor's "centerpiece of growth strategy", the promotion of casino-centric integrated resorts (IR). However, Shizuoka University Professor Torihata Yoichi said that the casino implementation law should be abolished as preconditions for "huge profits" have failed.

The following is what Torihata told Akahata on October 20:

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, major casino operators are seeing almost no profit. Many of them are falling into the red, suffering losses totaling around one billion dollars and are losing their financial strength. Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts is on the verge of excess debts.

In Macau, travel restrictions from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China were considerably relaxed after mid-July but the lifting of the restrictions has not had much effect so far. The number of casino customers in Macau remained very low and gambling revenues decreased by 94.5% in August and by 90% in September. Las Vegas, for example, is also facing a decline in the number of customers by 40%.

Las Vegas Sands Resort dropped its plan to open casinos in Japan. Wynn Resorts closed its Japan office. There are no longer any international casino operators who have enough financial strength to invest as much as ten billion dollars into an IR contract in Japan.

Pro-casino politicians and casino supporters often say, "Wait a few more years, then customers will come back." Their outlook is overly optimistic. They just groundlessly hope that someday some companies may again decide to operate in Japan.

The legislation on the IR promotion lifted the previous ban on casino gambling operations in Japan. The former Abe government steamrollered through this law based on the assumption that Japan can earn similarly enormous gambling revenues as Macau and Singapore. The IR business model was this: attract customers to large buildings such as international convention halls, world trade fair venues, entertainment facilities, and hotels, and entice them to go to casinos to gamble in closed and crowded spaces any time, 24/7 - 365 days a year.

The former Abe government envisioned that the world casino market would grow forever. Thus, preconditions for the IR design are no longer in place. The Diet should set up an inspection organ to verify the feasibility of IRs and the casino law should be abolished.

Past related articles:
> Suga gov't also in favor of casino promotion [October 11, 2020]
> Casino implementation law forcibly enacted [July 21, 2018]
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