Japan casino bill delayed indefinitely, dashing 2020 hopes: Sources

TOKYO - Japanese lawmakers plan to indefinitely postpone a vote on legalising casinos, ending hopes of enacting a law in this session of parliament and of having a gambling resort open in time for Tokyo's 2020 Olympics, three people directly involved in the process said.

The latest in a string of delays for the controversial bill will be a blow to Abe, who has promoted casino resorts as part of his economic growth programme, and a disappointment to casino developers from Las Vegas to Macau.

Lawmakers will set aside the bill as the prime minister, struggling to keep his party together after a string of scandals, lacks the political leverage to pass a bill in the current parliamentary session ending this month, the sources, who are directly involved in pushing the casino bill, told Reuters on Tuesday.

"If they can't pass it now, I doubt whether they'll ever be able to pass it," one of the sources said.

Lawmakers will try to carry the bill over to the session of parliament starting early in 2015, but it is unclear if this will work or when - if ever - a casino law will be enacted, the sources said. They all said there was a chance it would not be passed next year either.