The Current State of Japan’s Casino Industry

Japan’s casino industry is a hot topic in the gambling world, with many investors and stakeholders interested in its potential growth. The Japanese government legalized internet casino gambling in 2018, opening up a new market worth billions of dollars. Since then, several companies have announced plans to build integrated resorts (IRs) in the country, hoping to attract tourists and boost the economy. However, the industry has faced challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and public opposition. In this article, we will study the current state of Japan’s casino industry, including its regulatory framework, significant players, economic impact, and prospects.

Regulatory Framework of Japan’s Casino Industry

The Casino Control Act regulates Japan’s casino industry, passed in 2018 to legalize casino gambling. The act sets out guidelines for the establishment and operation of casinos, including requirements for operators, casino facilities, and taxation. The government is responsible for issuing operators’ licenses and ensuring they comply with regulations. However, the act’s implementation has been delayed due to the pandemic and other issues, and it remains to be seen when the first casinos will open.

Major Players

Several major players, including international casino operators and local companies, have announced plans to invest in Japan’s casino industry. Some of the most prominent players include:

MGM Resorts International: MGM Resorts has partnered with Orix Corp. to build an IR in Osaka, which is expected to open in the mid-2020s. The project will include aon-casino, hotels, retail space, and other amenities.

Las Vegas Sands Corp.: Las Vegas Sands has expressed interest in building an IR in Tokyo or Yokohama but has yet to face opposition from residents and officials. The company is also facing legal issues in the US related to its operations in China.

Wynn Resorts Ltd.: Wynn Resorts has partnered with a consortium led by Japanese financial services company ORIX to build an IR in Yokohama. The task is still in the planning phase but is expected to include a casino, hotel, and convention center.

Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.: Galaxy Entertainment Group has partnered with Japanese firm Socius Gaming to build an IR in Hokkaido. The project will include a casino, hotels, and other facilities.

Economic Impact

Japan’s casino industry has the potential to generate significant economic benefits, including job creation, expanded tourism, and tax revenue. According to a statement by the Japan Integrated Resort Association, the industry could create up to 930,000 jobs and generate annual revenue of up to $25 billion. The report also estimates that the government could collect up to $10 billion in annual tax revenue from the industry.

However, the industry has faced challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted travel and tourism worldwide. The pandemic has also delayed the implementation of the Casino Control Act and caused some operators to reconsider their plans for investment in Japan.

Public Opposition

Despite the potential economic benefits, Japan’s casino industry has faced public opposition from some quarters. Concerns about casinos’ social and economic impact have been raised, including the risk of problem gambling and money laundering. Some lawmakers and citizens have also expressed concern about the potential for organized crime to infiltrate the industry.

To address these concerns, the government has implemented various measures to promote responsible gambling and prevent crime. These measures include requiring operators to establish comprehensive internal controls and monitoring systems and setting limits on the number of visits and amount of money that customers can spend.

Future Prospects

The future of Japan’s casino industry remains to be determined, with some analysts predicting a slow start due to the pandemic and other issues. However, others are optimistic about the industry’s potential in the long term. As the world recuperates from the pandemic and travel resumes, Japan’s casinos could become a major attraction for tourists from around the globe. The government has also announced plans to promote tourism in the country, including hosting major sporting events such as the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

One factor that could shape Japan’s casino industry’s future is the competition between operators. With several major players vying for licenses and market share, there could be pressure to differentiate themselves by offering unique amenities or experiences. It could lead to innovation and investment in new technologies and attractions, attracting more visitors.


Japan’s casino industry is a dynamic and evolving market that has the potential to generate significant economic benefits for the country. While there are challenges and concerns to address, the industry’s major players and the government are working to ensure that it is well-regulated and responsible. As the world appears from the pandemic and tourism resumes, Japan’s casinos could become a significant draw for visitors from around the globe. Investors and stakeholders should watch this market and stay informed about its latest developments and opportunities.