Osaka Casino Project Moving In The Right Direction With Recent Political Outcome
- All four upper house seats for Osaka were won by parties backing casinos
- Casino-opposing candidates failed in their bids
- Ex-PM Shinzo Abe, a staunch casino supporter, was shot dead just two days before the election
Political parties in Osaka that are well-known casino supporters have emerged victorious in the upper chamber election in the country held on July 10.
The Japan Restoration Party won two seats, while the two remaining upper chamber positions open for contention in Osaka went to the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner Komeito. All three have included casino promotion in their campaign manifesto.
Some of the candidates who were vocal about their opposition to the proposed development of an integrated resort (IR) in the city were unsuccessful in their election bids, including those running under the Constitutional Democratic Party and the Japanese Communist Party. Both parties had taken an anti-casino stance throughout the campaign period, putting in place a policy that would block casino operations in the city.
Candidates competed for a total of 125 seats during the recent national election, with the LDP and Komeito emerging as the dominant parties. Both parties got 63 ad 13 seats respectively, which means the coalition now occupies 146 out of the 248 seats in the upper chamber.
Osaka’s proposed casino will be built on Yumeshima island, a man-made island in Osaka Bay which was also selected as the venue of the 2025 World Expo. The city has partnered with US casino giant MGM Resorts International and multinational financial group ORIX Group for the JPY1.08 trillion development.
According to MGM Resorts, the national authorities are likely to release their decision on the IR project this autumn. The company is confident Osaka’s IR proposal will ultimately get the nod. Osaka and Nagasaki were the only prefectures that had submitted an IR District Development Plan to the national government within the April 28 deadline.
The Osaka development is projected to open in 2029, should it be selected as the first casino to operate in Japan. But the plan continues to face opposition among local residents. A community group is actively pushing for the proposal to be thrown into the trash bin and has collected the required number of signatures to trigger a referendum on the matter. Whether a referendum will push through remains to be seen.
Shinzo Abe Wanted to Legalize Casinos in Japan
Two days before the election, Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, was shot dead in broad daylight while speaking in a campaign in Nara. The former Prime Minister had fought long and hard to bring casinos to the country.