Cigarette smoke wafts out of noisy pachinko parlors, crowds armed with racing forms jostle one another on trains on horse racing days, and lines form in front of lottery ticket booths. You may or may not call it gambling, but playing to test your luck has grown into a huge industry in Japan.

The next step is obvious, says Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, especially after contemplating the vacant lots that occupy huge expanses of Tokyo’s waterfront district. Build casinos in Odaiba, he says.

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