The Japanese Parliament has approved a bill allowing for limited casino gambling at tourist spots known as, integrated resorts. In doing so, the Japanese have opened a new market, potentially very lucrative, new market many are calling, “gambling’s last frontier.

Under the new measure, casinos would be allowed as a relatively small part of larger tourist resorts and shopping centers.

Japan would not, however, be building the next Macau or Las Vegas, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was quick to point out. In a statement reported on by the Associated Press, Abe defended the integrated resorts saying:

It’s not like the whole city will be taken over by casinos. These facilities will attract investment and do much to help create jobs.

If Abe thinks casino gambling won’t be the center of attention at the new resorts, he’s probably the only person thinking that way. Gambling operators across the world are chomping at the bit to get to what could be a $30 billion new gambling market.

Gaming industry analyst Grant Govertsen of the investment firm Union Gaming described Japan’s potential to the gambling business to ABC News saying:

Quite simply, it represents the next and perhaps only other large opportunity to develop large-scale integrated resorts in Asia for a lot of these companies. Some of these companies, their revenues and cash flow are so large today that it would take an opportunity like Japan to move the needle for them.

Japan is entering the Asian gambling market at a particularly fortuitous time and could wind up offering a much needed alternative to the casinos in Macau. Macau, which have suffered falling revenues since the Chinese government instituted a crackdown on official corruption.

The decision to introduce legalized casino gambling was not without its critics. Opposition parties fought hard to keep the bill from passing, expressing concerns over the potential for an increase in both organized criminal activities and gambling addiction.

The new casino resorts are not expected to open until sometime in 2021, right after Japan hosts the 2020 Olympic Games.

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