Two potentially powerful new promising poker markets in Asia, have recently taken a step back from legalised regulated casinos in their country. While there is a great deal of support from some parts of government, in both India, and Japan – There are also obstacles, which show no signs of melting away.
Two weeks ago, the transport minister for the ruling BJP party in India, Nitin Gadkari, said that there was no way he would tolerate the legalisation of casinos in India. Since a 38 year old statute was discovered by a law student in Maharashtra, which could allow for casinos to be built in the capital city state, courts have pressed the government on discussion and clarification of this legal issue. Currently, casinos are only legal in the states of Daman, Sikkim, and Goa.
In november, local authorities announced that they were drafting rules to restrict casino entry to gamblers 21 years of age or older and to to limit casino entry to non-Goans, except for casino workers. This is surely not good news for poker in India.
Credit photo: Antoine Taveneaux
Japan has been debating the issue of legalising casinos for quite some time now, and while the prime minister has been an avid supporter of casinos in Japan, not everyone agrees with his views. The “Integrated Resorts Gaming Bill” is the legislation upon which Japan's gaming future hinges, and with possible approval of this bill having been postponed again just a few days ago, it now looks increasingly unlikely that casinos will be open for business in time for the Olympics of 2020. The ruling party, LDP, and coalition party Komeito have been at odds over their views on the issue, and whether the social concerns outweigh the economical advantages of liberal gaming. Despite the best efforts of prime minister Shinzo Abe, it looks as though this bill will once again be put aside for the time being.