Officials in Japan have given the go-ahead for contentious plans to construct the nation’s first gambling resort. In 2029, the facility will debut in Osaka, a city in western Japan.
In Japan, casinos have long been forbidden. However, a rule allowing exceptions to games like poker or baccarat was introduced in 2018 in an effort to increase tourism and create jobs.
Some members of the public are worried about an increase in crime and gambling addiction.
The 5.3 million square foot (49 acre) project will also have a hotel, convention centre, mall, and museum in addition to the casino. According to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, “We hope (the casino) will become a tourism base that promotes Japan’s charms to the world.”
The project’s first investment is 1.8 trillion yen ($13.5 billion), and US casino operator MGM and Japan’s Orix Group each hold 40% of the business.
Local businesses including West Japan Rail, Kansai Electric Power, and Panasonic, based in Osaka, will own the remaining 20%.
According to a Japanese news service, officials anticipate the resort will draw about 20 million people a year and generate about 1 trillion yen in economic benefits for the area.
The project was first suggested years ago, but because of the Covid-19 outbreak and a corruption case involving a politician from the ruling party who was charged with accepting bribes while in charge of casino policy, it was put on hold.
Gambling is thought to have a bright future in Japan. With almost 126 million people, it has the third-largest economy in the world. Additionally, it is close to wealthy Asian gamblers, especially those from China. The only Chinese city where casinos are authorised is Macau.
The Nagasaki prefecture has made a similar proposal to construct a casino in Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park with a Dutch motif.