Japan’s Cabinet Committee Passes IR Implementation Bill
The controversial Japanese Integrated Resort (IR) Implementation Bill has been passed through by the Cabinet Committee of Japan's Lower House of Representatives. The IR bill passed despite heavy opposition in recent months.
With the Committee's approval, the bill will now have a chance to be voted on by the House of Representatives. It will first go for approval to the lower house and will then move on upper house.
Lawmakers will have time till June 20 to get the bill moving. If the bill does not get approved by June 20, the year's regular session will end and the bill will then have to wait till the next session resumes.
The IR implementation Bill has the potential to add three more integrated resorts to the country.
Supporters of the bill are behind it to boost tourism revenue and attract more foreign visitors. Local critics are less optimistic about the effects of the bill, saying that it will only benefit foreign investors and that it could potentially encourage the rise of problem gambling. The ruling coalition in the Japanese government has been pushing this bill hard. Rumors are floating around saying that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his party, the Liberal Democratic Party, actually plan to extend the regular session by a few weeks to ensure that the IR Bill is officially passed.
In a statement, a LDP Legislator said
We are short of deliberation time [for important bills]. We cannot help but extend the Diet term.
The gambling industry in Japan is expected to generate gross gaming revenues between $7 billion to $25 billion a year and is one of the main reasons why it is getting a push.
Opposition To IR Bill Continues
The opposition to the bill has been very fierce and the latest move against the bill was a no-confidence vote against the Cabinet Committee chairman Daishiro Yamagiwa, as well as Keiichi Ishi, the current Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism. Had the no confidence vote prevailed, the two legislators would have been forced to resign and this would have set the IR bill back greatly.
There has been a lot of research and effort involved in putting together the IR implementation bill. The bill is quite interesting detailing the dos and don’ts for IR developers and also states that Japanese players will be restricted to only 10 casino visits per month as a responsible gambling measure.