The March 11 disasters may achieve what Las Vegas magnate Sheldon Adelson has been trying to do for years: persuade the government to allow casinos.
Adelson, chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., has for at least half a decade sought to reverse a ban on gambling in Japan, only to be blocked by Diet members arguing that casinos would fuel organized crime and provide little benefit. Now, a group of 150 lawmakers is considering a bill that could allow resorts that combine slot machines and gambling tables with hotels, shops and restaurants.
Casinos could emerge as a ¥3.4 trillion industry, according to a 2009 study by Ryosaku Sawa, an economics professor at Osaka University of Commerce. That would provide an attractive source of tax revenue for a government facing a ¥19 trillion reconstruction bill from March 11 on top of the world's largest public debt.