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How Will Japan’s Legalisation Of Gambling Affect The Global Gaming Industry?

How Will Japan’s Legalisation Of Gambling Affect The Global Gaming Industry?

Back in December, it was announced that Japan’s Parliament made the decision to legalise casinos and most forms of gambling in the country, paving the way for investment in large casino complexes in the country. On top of the opportunity for high-stakes gambling, this could see a number of hotels, shopping centres, restaurants and entertainment venues making their way to the country. Despite 15 long years of political debate, the legislation was finally passed only recently, leading to a number of international gaming companies beginning to battle for operating rights in the country. While Japan still has a long way to go in terms of legislation for regulation, tax rates, and the social impact of gambling, this is a step in the right direction for gambling in Asia. However, many people are concerned about the effects on the global gaming industry, when the first casinos begin to head to Japan in around 2022, at the earliest.

The Downfall Of Macau

The gambling destination of the world, Macau, has already been dubbed to be a struggling destination, despite high rollers beginning to flock back to the Chinese district. However, with casinos opening in Japan, Macau could see a sharp decline in tourism and this could affect the high roller community in particular that they attract so well. In fact, many industry leaders are already stating that Japan could easily become the second largest gambling market in the world, aside from Macau – but if that continues, we may see Japan becoming the largest, depending on how the casinos take off in the country.

James Packer’s Crown Resorts has already withdrawn from Macau in order to focus on casinos in Australia, but is said to be one of many casino operators to be looking at the potential of Japan. While Macau has seen a growth in recent months, back in June 2016 the gambling destination saw its revenue fall for the 25th consecutive month, showing that things aren’t necessarily at their best.

The Effect Of Online Gambling

One of the things that Japan’s legalisation of gambling could have a positive impact on is the online gambling community. Prior to the legislation of casinos, Japan did allow betting on horses, boats, bicycle and motorcycle races, buying lottery tickets, or playing the popular game of Pachinko. In fact, Pachinko alone generates 4% of Japan’s GDP (around ¥25 trillion a year), and is the country’s main form of gaming. This shows that aside from the large proposed casino complexes, online gambling could be a huge part of the country’s gambling market, which could have an increasing effect on the global gaming industry. With a huge range of online resources to help Japan’s new gamblers learn how to play the games, such as blackjack video guides, various manuals, e-books and free-play options, it is almost certain that online gambling will become a very large part of Japan’s new casino culture.


A main concern for many in Japan is the prospect of addiction and organised crime amongst the proposed casino complexes. According to reports and a survey published by the public broadcaster NHK, only 12% of respondents wanted to lift the ban on casinos, while 44% were opposed to it. Some Buddhist backed groups were reluctant for the ban to be lifted by Parliament due to the concerns over addiction and money laundering in particular, and this will be something that will need to be proposed within a revised legislative bill within the next 5 years. Ensuring that regulations are tight will help to ensure facilities are great – without that, there is a risk that gambling in Japan could hinder the reputation of gambling across the world.

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An experienced sports columnist, analyst and author with focus on football. He began covering sports while still a student and really enjoy what he is doing. Also he likes to place bets on his betting tips.