Japan's parliament has just legalized casino gaming even though most Japanese oppose it. Here's why.
Lawmakers in the upper house sent the bill over its final hurdle early Thursday, even though polls have repeatedly shown more than half of Japanese oppose it, in large part on concerns over the social ills that often go hand-in-hand with gambling.
The bill was the culmination of years of effort, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe advocating for the measure since taking office in 2012 as part of Abenomics, or Abe's plan to boost growth in the country's long-moribund economy.
Allowing casinos as part of integrated resorts will provide a longer-term boost to the economy, even though they're unlikely to open before 2022, analysts said.
"Immediately, it's going to provide a buffer for after the Olympics," which Tokyo will be hosting in 2020, Jesper Koll, CEO of WisdomTree Japan, told CNBC's "The Rundown" on Wednesday. "Once the buildings for the Olympics are being built, then the next construction boom is going to be the integrated resorts."
Others also pointed to the building boom.
"While the government's intention is probably allowing only one or at max two per city in Japan, these would be very sizeable investments," noted Richard Huang, a China gaming, lodging and leisure analyst at Nomura, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday. "We're talking about multi-billion dollar investments."
After the construction boom, analysts expected the economy would continue to see a boost from increased tourism, which has been a key goal of Abenomics.