A croupier stacks chips during the European Poker Tour (EPT) at Grand Hyatt Hotel in Berlin, Germany, 16 April 2012.EPA/OBERT SCHLESINGER

Japan to open its first casino

Tokyo, Apr 14 (EFE).- The Japanese government gave the green light Friday to the construction of the country’s first casino.

A sticker indicates where player can take his seat at a gambling table in a Casino, in Scheveningen, The Netherlands, 29 June 2020. EFE/EPA/FREEK VAN DEN BERGH

The casino complex will open in the western city of Osaka in 2029, more than 10 years after a law was passed legalizing certain gambling games amid much controversy.

Cards and chips lie on a poker table during a match in Berlin, Germany, 02 March 2010. EPA/Tim Brakemeier

In 2018, then-prime minister Shinzo Abe’s government passed a landmark reform to allow the opening of casinos in the country, where until then, a ban on gambling had made it impossible for the world’s gambling market to tap into Japan’s domestic economy.

Although the reform passed successfully, no bids were formally approved until the government greenlighted the creation of the Osaka complex on Friday.

The casino will be located in a complex on the artificial island of Yumeshima and will include a hotel, conference rooms and gaming areas.

“In addition to contributing to the development of the Kansai region following the 2025 World Exposition in Osaka, we hope (the casino) will become a tourism base that promotes Japan’s charms to the world,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency.

The resort, which will be created in partnership with US-based MGM Resorts International and Japan’s financial services group Orix, is expected to attract some 20 million visitors a year and generate 1.14 trillion yen (%12.8 billion) per year.

The project still needs to overcome several hurdles including penning an agreement with the contractor, a successful assessment from Japan’s Casino Regulatory Commission and the granting of licenses.

Nagasaki Prefecture, southwest, has a similar plan under review.

Local authorities are hoping to build a casino complex in the Dutch-inspired Huis Ten Bosch theme park, in a move that could attract some 8.4 million visitors and generate profits of 330 billion yen yearly. EFE