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Japan lawmakers to submit casino legalisation bill by end: March

[TOKYO] Japan's pro-casino lawmakers said on Tuesday that they will resubmit by the end of this month a failed bill to legalise gambling at so-called "integrated resorts", hoping to finally pass the controversial law this year.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promoted casinos as part of his economic growth programme, but many lawmakers including some in the ruling coalition oppose it on fears it could lead to more gambling addiction and other social ills.

Liberal Democratic Party politician Takeshi Iwaya, a member of a group of pro-casino lawmakers, said they decided to submit the bill by next Tuesday, the last day of the fiscal year. "We have decided to submit it before the end of the fiscal year," Mr Iwaya told reporters, adding that having the bill on the table by March 31 meant local governments considering casino resorts could continue funding research on the topic in the coming year.

Gaming companies such as Las Vegas Sands Corp and MGM Resorts International have been hoping Japan will unlock a casino market that brokerage CLSA estimated could generate annual revenue of US$40 billion.