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Issue Date: Vol. 53, No. 5, May 2013, Posted On: 4/24/2013

Japan Casino Lobby Legalization Push Could Benefit Sega

Nick Montano
TAGS: pachinko, pinball, Japanese casino push, Liberal Democratic Party, amusement business, Sega Sammy Holdings, coin machine

TOKYO -- A group of Japanese lawmakers in favor of casinos has tapped an influential member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party as its leader and plans to submit legislation this year aimed at opening the world's third-largest economy to casino gambling, according a Reuters report .

Japan is often hyped as the next major casino market after Chinese enclave Macau, the world's biggest gambling hub, which raked in revenue of $38 billion last year, Reuters said. While casinos are illegal in Japan, the pinball-like game called pachinko is not. The gambling machines are extremely popular there, reportedly generating $200 billion in revenue each year -- about the same as Toyota Motor Corp.

A major roadblock to casino legalization in Japan has been the near constant change in political leadership, Reuters pointed out. But now the business-friendly LDP under popular Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is said to be open to the idea of casino resorts, is in power. The pro-casino group of lawmakers is expected to introduce Hiroyuki Hosoda, a veteran LDP lawmaker and former chief cabinet secretary, as its new chairman.

Among potential beneficiaries highlighted by Mizuho Securities in a March Reuters report are pachinko machine maker Sega Sammy Holdings.

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