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Politics

Japan targets high rollers with roomy suites at casino hotels

Cabinet approves rules for large gambling resorts to open in mid-2020s

Students practice on a roulette wheel at a casino school in Tokyo. Japan is hoping its freshly legalized gambling industry will attract tourists with deep pockets.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan hopes to lure high-rolling foreign tourists by mandating that integrated resorts with gambling facilities will have at least 100,000 sq. meters in lodging space to offer several hundred spacious suites. 

The cabinet on Tuesday approved specific operational rules for integrated resorts, slated to open in the mid-2020s. The government cited the example of a resort with 2,000 standard rooms of 40 sq. meters and 500 suites of 70 sq. meters as a satisfactory plan. The average luxury hotel in Japan, by contrast, has only 930 guest rooms and 47 suites. 

As a measure against money laundering, operators will be required to report chip exchanges worth 1 million yen ($9,090) or more to the government. The threshold is lower than Macau's at about 500,000 pataca ($61,860) and on par with the U.S. state of Nevada at $10,000 or Singapore at 10,000 Singapore dollars ($7,400).

Japan is expected to reap economic benefits totaling 5.05 trillion yen from the construction of these resorts and 1.98 trillion yen in annual benefits from their operation, the Daiwa Institute of Research estimates.

"The rules are appropriate because they are comparable with those for large facilities in other countries," said Toru Mihara, a professor at the Osaka University of Commerce. "Resorts in major urban areas will be profitable, but it will more difficult to build them in regional areas."

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