Japan finally gets casinos

Blue-chip investment

THE sun beats down on a queue of punters outside the Espace pachinko parlour in central Tokyo. Inside is an air-conditioned oasis. Japanese people wage over ¥20trn ($180bn) a year on this pinball derivative, fleeing the tedium of office and home life for its noisy thrills. Now it is to have competition.

On July 20th the Diet (parliament) ended years of wrangling when it passed a bill allowing the establishment of casinos in three Japanese cities. A pet project of Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, the casinos will be embedded in family-friendly resorts, partly in a bid to counter their seedy image. Tempers ran high as the bill inched toward law. An attempt by the government to cut off debate sparked scuffles among lawmakers.

Most Japanese have little enthusiasm for casinos, which they associate with gambling addiction and yakuza gangsters. Nearly two-thirds of the population oppose them. Yet it is not hard to...



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