LAND CASINO BILL PASSES HOUSE COMMITTEE IN JAPAN
Ruling coalition partner Komeito withdraws earlier opposition.
In Japan, the long-running political debate on whether to allow land casino gambling made some unexpected progress Friday when a proposal was approved by a lower House committee after ruling coalition partner Komeito withdrew its earlier opposition to the days vote by the Diet panel.
A bi-partisan side meeting of leading lawmakers led to Komeito Secretary General Yoshihisa Inoue agreeing that his party would not protest the vote in the House of Representatives Cabinet committee Friday afternoon.
Although two of the committees three Komeito representatives opposed the proposed bill, it gained support from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, enabling it to progress.
LDP legislators sponsoring the "integrated casino resorts" bill claim that casinos could help sustain the flow of foreign tourists to Japan after the boost the industry will probably receive from the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 fades.
Debate on the casino bill began Wednesday this week and embraces the provision of a legal framework for resorts that combine casinos with hotels and large event facilities.
Current Japanese law bans casino gambling but effectively allows gambling at pinball-like "pachinko" and slot-machine parlors, according to local media reports. Gamblers are also allowed to bet on publicly run horse, bicycle and powerboat races.
Talking of races, this bill is part of one…both Diet houses adjourn on December 14 and supporters of the bill are anxious to bring it to a vote in both houses before then.