Gambling in Japan is currently illegal with a few exceptions. However, a group of politicians are making another effort to upturn restrictions.
On December 9th, a new gaming bill was introduced to the Diet that could potentially pave the way for a resort-style casino in Japan. Given the insurmountable budget deficit Japan faces – far worse than that of the U.S. and potentially as bad as Greece or Italy – lawmakers are getting close to trying anything.
The gambling debate is a universal and timeless one.
On one hand, gambling, like drugs, is a self-destructive, addicting habit often considered immoral. A rise in gambling is also often correlated with a rise in crime.
On the other hand, gambling could be extremely profitable. Not only can a casino be a direct source of revenue, the effect on tourism compounds the benefits.
Furthermore, Japan is not completely foreign to gambling. Pachinko parlors are already an irremovable aspect of the Japanese landscape. Japan has also always had lottery tickets, racing (horse, bicycle, motorboat, and auto), and even illegal casinos and mobile game sites.
Amidst the global climate forcing governments to balance their budgets, made worse by the unfortunate, costly March disaster, Japan seems more likely than ever to consider giving the alleged $44 billion gambling industry a shot. But if the past half century of Japanese politics has taught us anything, “Yes, we can” is not Japan’s philosophy towards change.