Yesterday, international casino operators willing to expand their global presence in Japan have tried to win the approval of the local public at a Yokohama-based exhibition following the arrest of a lawmaker from the ruling party under allegations of corruption.
At the time of the exhibition, some anti-gambling protesters gathered in Yokohama that has been among the Japanese cities expected to apply for licenses to host so-called integrated casino resorts. The latter are planned as large and luxurious Las Vegas-style complexes offering hospitality, dining, gambling, entertainment and shopping options.
As CasinoGamesPro reported, Tsukasa Akimoto, a former senior vice minister who has been responsible for overseeing the casino policy, has been arrested in December 2019 under suspicion of taking bribes from Chinese companies that have been interested in setting foot in Japan by establishing integrated casino resorts there. The allegations have so far been rejected by Mr. Akimoto.
Now, global gambling companies that would like to establish a presence in Japan have tried to win the favor of the wider public. Chris Gordon, Development President at the US casino operator Wynn Resorts, has described Yokohama as an excellent destination to host an integrated casino resort. Mr. Gordon further shared that he was not concerned about the possible delay of the licensing process in the country, as such a slowdown would be in the interest of good practice.
According to the President of Singaporean gambling resort Marina Bay Sands, George Tanasijevich, the Japanese Government needs to ensure local people that casinos are not something dangerous in order to put an end to the misconceptions about the industry and the possible impact it may have on the country.
The Wider Public Has Been Against Integrated Casino Resorts Establishment
Earlier in January, an unnamed source close to the Japanese Government revealed that the Government was considering to put off the process for selecting the cities that are the most appropriate to host the newly-permitted integrated casino resorts in the light of the recent arrest of Mr. Akimoto.
So far, the Government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has revealed that it would grant licenses for a total of three integrated casino resorts. The interested parties are expected to be given time to made bids for the licenses in question by 2021. The potential bidders include the three largest cities in Japan Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka, as well as some smaller cities such as Nagasaki and Wakayama.
As it recently became clear, the wider public is not so thrilled about the addition of casino gambling in the country. Anti-gambling campaigners have previously shared fears that the expansion of the local gambling sector would lead to a significant increase in problem gambling rates and organized crime. At the time when the protests outside the Yokohama exhibition took place, campaigners said that Japan does not need any casinos to be added to its gambling environment. Some of them even went further, saying that the establishment of casinos would fully destroy people’s lives.