Some politicians want to deter locals from visiting casinos by imposing an entry tax.
Pachinko's seedy reputation is one reason.
Though the industry has shrunk by about 40% from its peak 20 years ago, there are still about 11,000 pachinko parlours—and thousands of addicts.
Public hostility recently forced the mayor of Yokohama, one of three proposed sites for the resorts, to begin back-pedalling on her support.
Investors fear outbreaks of NIMBYism elsewhere, too.
In a recent survey 75% of Japanese said they would not like a casino to be built near their homes.
Officials in Osaka have come up with a way around this problem: they want to build a resort on an artificial island in Osaka Bay.
Well-heeled tourists, mainly from China, are expected to be the main punters, says Susumu Hamamura, a Komeito politician.
About 20m people visited Japan last year.
The government wants to double this by 2020, along with the roughly ￥3.5trn that tourists spend annually.
Even if the casinos get off the ground, Japan faces stiff regional competition from Macau, Malaysia and Singapore.
What will give the country an edge, predicts Mr.Yonekawa, is Japanese culture.
The proposed sites for another mooted resort, in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, are onsen (hot spring) retreats, he points out. “Japanese cuisine and hospitality will win many customers.”
He voted for the casino bill despite opposition from his own party boss because he believes it will be good for Japan.
“Over 140 countries have legal casinos; why should we be left out?” he asks.
Even he accepts, however, that most Japanese are “emotionally” against casinos and will need to be convinced.
He plans to win them over, he says, by explaining one of the overlooked benefits of the resorts: they will give foreigners something to do at night.