JAPAN'S LAND CASINO BILL BACK ON TRACK (Update)
Against expectations bill clears the Upper House Cabinet Committee despite opposition.
Japan's online gambling bill is back on track despite determined opposition to its passage in the Upper House Cabinet Committee Monday. The panel gathered again Tuesday and this time the Liberal Democratic Party managed to push the bill through to the Upper House for a final vote Wednesday, the final day for this year, according to a Reuters news agency report.
The bill has already passed successfully through the Lower House.
The report predicts that with the ruling party's dominance in the Upper House the bill is almost certain to pass, opening up a very significant market that has been estimated at $40 billion a year in which major US and Macau gambling groups have already expressed an interest.
An opinion poll this week by public broadcaster NHK found opposition at 44 percent and support at just 12 percent, with 34 percent of respondents undecided on the proposal.
Supporters of the bill, which allows for large-scale projects that combine casinos with hotel, shopping and conference space, see casinos as a way to boost tourism.