* Masuzoe cites money landering as a concern
* Cautious approach contrasts with Osaka's pro-casino stance
(Adds quotes, details and background)
TOKYO, June 6 Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe on
Friday said developing a casino was not a priority for the city
and urged more debate about potential problems like money
laundering that could arise should casinos be legalised in
The governor has said little about the issue and investors,
lobbyists and global casino operators have been waiting for him
to clarify his stance, as Japanese lawmakers prepare to consider
a bill to open up the country to casino gambling.
"This is not at the top of my agenda. I don't believe that
you must have casinos to improve the economy," Masuzoe said at a
press briefing in response to a question about his view on
developing an integrated resort in Tokyo.
"There hasn't been enough debate, including about money
laundering and other things."
Masuzoe's cautious stance is in contrast to officials in the
western city of Osaka who have been openly lobbying to host a
casino resort and aggressively courting operators.
Global companies including Las Vegas Sands Corp and
Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd are vying to win the
first licences to operate casinos in Japan, a market brokerage
CLSA estimates could generate annual revenue of $40 billion.
Pro-casino lawmakers are aiming to kick off debate about a
casino bill in the lower house of parliament next week, and seek
its passage in an extraordinary session in the fall.
If that bill passes, debate will move to a second bill
concerning concrete regulations, which proponents hope to pass
(Reporting by Emi Emoto, writing by Nathan Layne; Editing by
Chris Gallagher and Stephen Coates)