Japan Debates Casino Restrictions

February 20, 2018 by

Japan Debating Restrictive New Gaming Laws

Japan continues their effort to reform their gambling laws to be more open and flexible. The country has been struggling to find a suitable framework for their legal needs. Japan saw a long time ban on gambling activities of all kinds since the local organised crime syndicates raked in huge profits from it. Now as the country looks to new ways for the government to earn revenues and as they seek to meet the needs of the populace, the government has been in talks to find a new framework that they can manage legal gambling in.

There have been concrete talks on designating certain holiday and ski resorts as legal gambling venues but the red tape and political infighting has proven to be a quite steep barrier to progress. What has also been a hurdle is Japan’s need to fix Japanese problems with Japanese solutions, which is what the country has been doing quite successfully ever since the end of the Second World War.

Unreasonable Limitations

The government’s recent announcements have had many people scratching their heads however as they are seeking to physically limit the amount of times an individual may enter a casino. A gambler may not visit any one casino more than 10 times a months, with a limit of 3 visits in 7 consecutive days. These restrictions will be valid for both local and foreign residents in Japan. Foreign tourists however will have no limitations.

Currently the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has criticised the plans as they feel it is too restrictive and could hurt the government’s gaming revenues.  The plans are still only in the talks phase but there is a strong push from many MP’s to clear the bill.

Furthermore casinos will be restricted to being no more than 15 000 square meters in size and if that casino is on a resort site, it may not make up more than 3% of the venue’s total size. There are also talks of charging entry fees and limiting the total number of casinos in the country.

Policing Individuals

The logistics of managing this plan could also be a huge hurdle for the government. Currently the talks suggest that gamblers should carry around ID cards with special chips inside to monitor the gambler’s activities.

This certainly raises many questions on civil liberty. In other countries we have already seen the challenges of monitoring individual gamblers with many country’s self exclusion programs. That said perhaps the government talks could help loosen these restrictions while still offering a uniquely Japanese solution to gambling management which could inspire other emerging gambling markets around the world.

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