>> Japan's placing its bets on a full scale casino industry. A controversial bill to legalize casinos passing through a key parliamentary panel late on Tuesday, essentially guaranteeing it will be enacted into law. That paves the ways of the sort of resort scene in Macau, to lure an high roller tourists eager to hit the gaming floor.
Prime minister Shinzo Abe set tourism as a key goal to boost the economy. Scene is critical in the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The casino bills failed to gain traction for years, critics saying they fear gambling could fuel addiction and organized crime. Official polling also shows that around half of Japanese people oppose the bill.
And there's even concern within Abe's ruling coalition. But Japan's already got gambling of a sort. Pachinko is a widespread but tolerated form of betting that operates in a legal gray area. Where customers gamble for tokens they can exchange for prizes or money at a separate location. The bill won't immediately greenlight casino grand openings, just legalizing plans.
Supporters want to push legislation next year to fire up construction.