[Tokyo] It will be difficult to enact a law to legalise casinos in Japan during this session of parliament, a top official of Komeito, the junior partner in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's coalition government, said on Monday. "The hurdle is quite high for both lower and upper houses to enact it" during the current session through Nov. 30, Komeito policy chief Keiichi Ishii told Reuters.
The bill will be carried over to the next parliament session to be convened early next year if it fails to pass the current session, Ishii said.
Parliament had been expected in the coming weeks to discuss a casino legalisation bill, an essential first step to unlock a gaming market some analysts say will be worth tens of billions of dollars a year.
Support from Komeito is seen as crucial for the bill since Abe's Liberal Democratic Party does not have a majority on its own in the Upper House. But Ishii said there was concern among some Komeito members over the effects of gambling on society.
Pro-casino lawmakers last week agreed to revise the bill by mentioning the need for limits on Japanese nationals' entry to casinos, bowing to pressure from opponents who threatened to block legalisation unless issues such as gambling addiction were addressed. REUTERS