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USJ eager to pursue casino license in advance

Kyodo

The operator of Universal Studios Japan in Osaka is considering bidding for a license to operate a casino complex in the city should gambling regulations ease, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

USJ Co., which operates the popular Hollywood theme park, is likely to team up with other interested parties and lead a consortium, the sources said.

It envisions an amusement complex comprising a casino and a theme park being built on Yumeshima, an man-made island about 3 km away from USJ, according to a blueprint drafted by local authorities.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party and two opposition parties last December jointly submitted a bill to the Diet to legalize casinos as the government looks for new ways to stimulate tourism and investment.

The proponents are pushing to pass legislation next year.

Osaka is among six prefectural authorities seeking to host casino complexes. The others are Hokkaido, Tokyo, Nagasaki, Miyazaki and Okinawa.