Japan's Desperation: Gambling on Casino Openings

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 12/08/2014 01:30:00 AM
Beyond pachinko - luck be a Japanese tonight.
You cannot help but feel sorry for Japan as it tries everything to get its economy rolling again except for the thing which promises the most--opening itself up to migration in an era of depopulation. Abenomics is a dud; despite US-style money-for-nothing policies, it has had even more limited success pump-priming its economy. In fact, it's fallen back into recession and Abe has had to call for another election to renew his mandate for...I do not know precisely what.

Since generating revenues is one of Japan's many problems, this option had to pop up sooner or later: when in doubt, build casinos! As nearly every American state and even moralistic "Asian values" Singapore has legalized gambling, why not Japan? As the Yanks are learning, building casinos is hardly a surefire way to fiscal success. But, given the level of Japanese desperation, isn't it worth a shot for the heck of it? Apparently that's what the Abe administration thinks, even if Japan's current economic woes are causing delays in gaining legislative approval. Given a sour economy, there are higher priority bills like re-militarizing Japan to meet rising Chinese territorial expansionism, though:
Gaming companies such as Las Vegas Sands Corp, Caesars Entertainment Corp and MGM Resorts International have been hoping Abe would unlock an "integrated resort" market that brokerage CLSA estimated could generate annual revenue of $40 billion.

Pro-casino lawmakers intend to push back a vote on the bill instead of trying to pass it in the current parliamentary session ending this month, three people directly involved in pushing the casino bill told Reuters on Tuesday. Although they aim to keep the bill on the table, the sources said there was a considerable chance it would not come up for discussion even in 2015.

Higher-priority bills, including those related to national defense, are likely to take up debate time in the next parliament session, they said. "If they can't pass it now, I doubt whether they'll ever be able to pass it," one of the sources said. 
It was earlier hoped that the bill would be passed so that casinos would be around in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As things stand, they will now be lucky to get any built at all:
Until a few weeks ago, most analysts still expected the casino bill to be adopted in November, allowing leaders to pass a second bill outlining regulations in 2015. One Japanese casino industry source said there was a chance legislation could be delayed by three or four years, meaning actual casino development may have to wait until around 2024.

Toru Mihara, who teaches at the Osaka University of Commerce and was one of the architects of the casino bill, said failure to pass the bill in this session would be a "total loss of face" for Abe's cabinet. He also said the bill will be difficult to pass next year, as newer topics come up in parliament.
I don't know about you, but it all smacks of more Japanese desperation to me in the absence of real efforts to fix what really ails it--the sheer lack of people buying stuff, offering services, and yes, even gambling.