Japan is currently undergoing some heated debates about whether live online casino and other casino activities should be legalized or not. It is estimated that there is about a 50 percent chance that the legislation will succeed.
The Liberal Democratic Party currently has the majority of support, which means that the party can push through any legislation it wants without having to rely on its coalition partner, the Komelto party, or any other political parties.
In theory, the so-called IR Bill can now be passed with ease. The unknown variable is how high gambling is on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's list of priorities, and this will likely have an impact on how things are resolved.
Because of this, casino operators are already maxing out their Japan efforts, as Union Gaming Analyst Grant Govertsen commented. He said that the IR Bill had a very low chance to succeed earlier this year, but currently, the odds are better than 50-50.
If the IR Bill is passed, it would introduce significant changes in Japanese society, as doing so would essentially decriminalize gambling and casino activities. A second bill, called the IR Implementation Bill, is on the way, and this will help potential developers plan out their growth strategies better.
Govertsen estimates that the development of casinos could very well be pushed to 2019 and 2020, and that 2022 is the earliest that an IR is likely to be opened.
If the bill succeeds, Tokyo and Osaka will most likely be the first regions of Japan to receive a license, with smaller regions such as Hokkaido set to receive one at a later date. Currently, the largest contenders for the Tokyo and Osaka licenses are Kazuo Okada's Universal Entertainment as well as Sega Sammy.