Japan’s government seems undeterred in its plans to launch integrated resorts in the country. Japan will be hosting three integrated casino resorts in the first phase following a gambling expansion move approved by the government.
However, the opposition seems to gain grounds as a ruling party lawmaker who was an active proponent of casino gambling industry in the country was arrested over allegations of taking bribes from a Chinese casino operator.
Earlier in the week, the police conducted a raid on the offices of ruling party lawmaker Tsukasa Akimoto following an investigation. He is accused of having taken bribes to the tune of 3 million yen ($27,387) in cash and a family holiday. It is alleged that the casino operator 500.com was lobbying for a casino license in the country and it was in connection with this pursuit that Akimoto was bribed.
While the government has alienated itself from the lawmaker and he has been suspended from the party, the plans for hosting integrated resorts in Japan remains undeterred. The government has assured that all processes including the selection of cities that would host the IRs and selection of operators will go as planned.
With Hokkaido no longer in the race for a casino license in Japan, there are seven cities vying to host a casino. Hokkaido pulled itself from the race of hosting a casino citing environmental concerns.
Japan is also a favorite of several regional and global gambling operators as they see the Japanese casino market to become one of the largest in the world. Also, marketing firms suggest that Japan’s casino industry would be the third-largest in the world only after Macau and Nevada.
Meanwhile, the investigation is going and the police have raided a Pachinko operator in connection with the bribery case.
The authorities have seized the accounts of the Pachinko operator and have said that they are analyzing the accounts to see if there is any link to Akimoto as a connection is suspected between the three, 500.com, arrested lawmaker and the Pachinko operator.