Gambling in Japan is prohibited by Article 23 of the Penal Code. However, there are some legitimate entertainments, which can still be considered to be gambling businesses. Thus, in accordance with the existing law, betting on horse racing, bicycle racing, motoracing and motorboats is allowed. In addition, the locals are allowed to play lotteries. Perhaps, the whole world knows the Japanese game ‘pachinko’, a kind of analogue of the American pinball. Although formally earning money in the game impossible, in reality, through an indirect circuit there is still a chance to make some cash. In any case, any forms of casino and other ‘classics’ of gambling are strictly prohibited in Japan.
The ice to be broken?
However, now it is safe to say that these prohibitions will not survive for long. Under the pressure of the various structures, as well as in connection with obtaining by Tokyo the right of hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics in the nearest future the bill authorizing the Land of the Rising Sun different kinds of gambling, including casinos, will be adopted. Judging by the comments of experts, the bill is likely to be approved by Parliament and signed by the Government by 2016.
What prompted the Japanese authorities for this kind of assignment? The answer is simple as the world – heaps of money. Firstly, even legal ‘pachinko’ brings the economy tens of billions of dollars in revenue. Second, despite all the efforts of the authorities, gambling has not disappeared completely, as it only went underground. Thus according to gambling site www.dgfev.de, one of the largest European casino databases, the Japanese online traffic is one of the most valuable ones in Asia. Moreover, Japan houses an extensive network of different kinds of illegal gambling houses, complete elimination of which is almost a mission impossible for the authorities at the moment.
As a result, it seems, it was decided that “it is better not to prohibit, and put under control,” and the government should not deprive yourself of a solid source of income in the face of the gaming industry. And it will be timed for the Olympics 2020. But such business authorities do not want to let go of “free floating”, planning to make it the most controllable. All gambling establishments will be placed in designated gambling zones, possibly outside the major cities. In the first phase will allow the work of several institutions, and then, perhaps, will be made further concessions.
The new legislation will establish very high parameters, compliance with which it would be required to obtain a license. And because the green light will be given only to successful companies that have well-developed infrastructure and sufficient experience and knowledge, the level of services provision will presumably above average.
In any case, the news that Japan will soon give gambling activities a legal status, has aroused great interest among foreign investors. Some experts predict that the gambling zones of Tokyo and other big cities in Japan have the potential of turning into serious competitors of Las Vegas, Macau, Singapore, and other world famous gambling centers.