Tokyo governor expresses misgivings about casino economy

Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe said that developing a casino was “not a priority for the city” and asked for more debate about potential problems like money laundering that could arise should casinos be legalised in Japan, Intergame reports.
“This is not at the top of my agenda,” Masuzoe told reporters, adding that “I don’t believe that you must have casinos to improve the economy.” The governor has said little about the issue and investors, lobbyists and global casino operators have been waiting for him to clarify his stance as Japanese lawmakers prepare to consider a bill to open up the country to casino gambling.
“There hasn’t been enough debate, including about money laundering and other things,” he said. Tokyo’s position regarding gaming contrasts with that of officials in the western city of Osaka, who are openly lobbying to host a casino resort and aggressively courting operators. Japan’s capital will host the Summer Olympics in 2020.
According to brokerage CLSA, the Japanese gaming industry could generate US$40 billion per year and is attracting proposals by major operators like Las Vegas Sands, Melco Crown Entertainment and Wynn.