Newswise — Japanese lawmakers on Friday approved a bill that will lead to that nation’s first integrated resorts, facilities first developed in Las Vegas that blend hotel and conference facilities with entertainment, dining, shopping and gaming.

The move, years in the making, is expected to boost Japan’s tourism economy when the first three resorts are introduced in the coming years.

Since 2012, researchers at UNLV’s International Gaming Institute (IGI) have been a resource for Japanese government officials and business leaders, offering customized research and educational programs on integrated resort implementation.

In 2017, IGI researchers Bo Bernhard, Brett Abarbanel, and Jennifer Roberts, as well as Kahlil Philander of Washington State University, prepared two extensive reports that offered some of the most comprehensive information that any jurisdiction was able to utilize prior to integrated resort implementation.

“Japanese officials have taken a thoughtful and thorough approach that considers gambling’s socioeconomic impacts and appropriate regulation as well as gambling addiction education, prevention, and treatment measures,” said Bo Bernhard, IGI’s executive director.

IGI’s 2017 reports offered a socioeconomic analysis of the impacts of an integrated resort casino, including the need to strike a balance between growing the Japanese tourism market while minimizing social costs such as addiction and crime. Researchers also addressed how gaming regulation can help Japan eliminate organized crime in casino management, suggesting rigorous pre and post-licensing standards and enforcement structures, internal controls, and compliance practices.

Prior to passing the integrated resorts legislation, Japanese officials introduced and approved the “Gambling Addiction Countermeasures Bill,” which IGI researchers laud as a precedent-setting step to address problem gambling and secure a responsible future for integrated resorts in Japan.

“This landmark decision not only attests to Japan’s concern for the well-being of citizens and visitors but also illustrates the country’s commitment to academic research and education,” said Bernhard.

About the UNLV International Gaming Institute

Offering research-based solutions and executive education programs to more than 50 jurisdictions across the globe, the UNLV International Gaming Institute (IGI) provides cutting-edge research, knowledge, and innovation to leaders in the global gaming industry. To help maintain its status as the “global intellectual capital” of gaming, IGI houses centers of excellence and labs. The Center for Gaming Innovation, the International Center for Gaming Regulation, the Hospitality Lab, and the Esports Lab were each developed to address a strategic issue that only an academic institution’s unique spaces and structures can solve.