12/16/2016, 14.51
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Casino legalisation makes the Yakuza happy

Organised crime syndicates and gaming companies see economic opportunities in the new law adopted after 15 years of arguing.

Tokyo (AsiaNews) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to a law legalising casinos. This has aroused the interest of many gaming companies, not to mention the Yakuza, Japan's organised crime syndicate.

The first casinos will not be in operation until 2022-23 at the earliest, but many Japanese and foreign gambling companies are already considering investing in Japan. So are criminal organisations.

Indeed, although “No one gains big benefits through gambling, [. . .] customers who lose all reason borrow unlimited amounts of money,” says a gang boss quoted by Kenji Ogata in Asahi Shimbun.

As few as three casinos could generate nearly US$ 10 billion in net profit annually, the Daiwa Research Institute estimated, equivalent to 0.2% of Japan’s gross domestic product.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had included authorising casinos in his economic recovery programme when he took office in 2012.

Still, as much as Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is in favour of casinos, a majority of Japanese is not.

In fact, a recent poll by public broadcaster NHK showed 44 per cent of the Japanese public opposed casinos with only 12 per cent in favour.

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