Japan gives the go ahead for new gambling resorts

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has given the green light to approve new gambling resorts across the country, with hopes to open the first resort in Osaka by 2024.

The government approved the opening of casinos in 2016, followed by the approval of another bill which would pave the way for the legalisation of integrated resorts.

It is hoped that the decision will offer a new source of tax revenue for the country. In addition to this, it is hoped that it will open the door towards new investment opportunities from large corporations such as MGM Resorts International and Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd. Japan who already have a horse racing offerings in the country.

Japan had previously hoped to open its first casino in time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but due to regulations and public concerns over problem gambling, the plans had been put on hold. The new plans “will seek to become an advanced country for tourism”, according to Abe who spoke at his residence on Tuesday.

The latest Japanese regulations have set out specific conditions for new gambling resorts in the country, including hotel sizes, conference facilities and exhibition centres.

For a casino to be approved, the guest-room area of the hotel must be at least 200,000 square metres, while the total area for the casino must be no larger than three per cent of the total resort area.

Resorts will be limited to advertising in international airports and cruise ship terminals, and operators will be obliged to flag and report any customers who attempt to make transactions of ¥1m yen (£6850) or more in cash.

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