TOKYO Dec 13 A contentious bill to legalise
casinos in Japan cleared a key parliamentary panel on Tuesday,
essentially assuring its enactment into law, paving the way for
high-stakes gambling in the world's third-biggest economy.
Brushing off concerns - even from within Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition - over gambling addiction and
other social ills, lawmakers in an upper house committee
approved the bill. It had failed repeatedly in previous
parliaments to come up for a vote.
Domestic and international companies from MGM Resorts
International to Japanese game-machine maker Sega Sammy
Holdings Inc could benefit from legalised casinos in
Japan, a market that brokerage CLSA estimates could be worth up
to $40 billion a year.
Given the Abe coalition's strong majority in the upper
house, the bill is almost certain to be approved by the full
chamber on Wednesday, the last day of this session. It
previously cleared the lower house.
($1 = 115.3700 yen)
(Reporting by Thomas Wilson; Editing by William Mallard)