Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s resignation puts question mark on future of casino market

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s resignation puts question mark on future of casino market

The recent announcement of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s resignation has put a question mark on the future of his aggressive economic program, dubbed “Abenomics,” which includes the creation of a new integrated resort casino market.

Known for pursuing an aggressive economic program to reinvigorate the economy of the Land of Rising Sun, the 65-year-old prime minister announced his decision to step down from his position due to chronic health issues. One year is still left in his term in the office. Recently, Abe became Japan’s longest-serving Prime Minister.

Sincerely apologizing to voters for leaving the post with one year left in his term in the office, Abe stressed that he was leaving at a time when a number of economic policies remained in the course of being implemented.

One such policy is the introduction of IR casinos. Diet, the parliament of Japan, approved a bill designed to authorize IR casinos back in December 2016. But regulatory delays in the past couple of years and the corona virus pandemic this year led to frequent and repeated delays in the implementation of the casinos plans.

While any potential successor will likely not deviate from PM Abe’s policies in any major way, Niall Murray, chairman of gaming & hospitality industry consultancy firm Murray International Group, cautioned that new leader might not be as devoted to the IR project as PM Abe.

Commenting on the situation, Murray said, “For decades Abe has spearheaded the effort to formulate and pass the IR legislation… Without Abe at the helm, it might prove difficult to find a leader with the same determination, conviction, and ability to take the steps necessary to bring the Japanese IR industry dream to life.”

The IR casinos in the Land of Rising Sun are being seen as rewarding opportunities for operators. Some industry analysts predicted that Japan has the potential to surpass Macau and the Las Vegas to become the world’s biggest as well as most attractive gambling and entertainment market. But, the frequent delays and postponements in the implementation of the casino project made a big dent in those aspirations. The Covid-19 pandemic, which forced governments to issue closure orders for the world’s entire gambling industry as well as put travel bans in place, is been seen as the main culprit in the continued delays of the realization of the casino project. Now, the resignation of PM Abe put more uncertainty on the IR project.