For centuries, Japan has maintained strict laws and regulations on gambling. Gambling is a serious criminal offense prosecutable under the Japanese Criminal Code chapter 23. The vehement opposition stems from two prime reasons. One, the citizens argue that gambling is a prerequisite for lawlessness. Two, gambling addicts are a burden to society. The gamblers end up losing their livelihoods and, that adversely affects the entire community.
The economic crunch facing the nation prompted the leaders to reevaluate their hard-lying stance on gambling. To save Japan from a complete economic meltdown, Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister, and his team, had to go back to the drawing board and negotiate fresh terms with the foreign casino operators. Japan could no longer afford to sit idly as billions of dollars went into powering the economies of their neighbors like Macau, Malaysia, and Singapore.
An Untapped $40B Industry
According to the Economist, an estimated 20 million tourists frequented Japan in 2016 alone. These individuals spend upwards of 3.5 trillion Yen every year. The government expects around 40 million visitors by the year 2020. Most of these guests come from neighboring China which, also has a zero tolerance on gambling.
The death of prohibition in the country won’t take place overnight. The new casinos will be heavily monitored by the authorities. There’s also the likelihood that licenses will only get issued to joint ventures involving a Japanese establishment. The CEO of the International Casino Institute in Japan, Takashi Kiso, is quoted in The New York Times saying that only a handful of integrated casino resorts will be allowed to operate, at first.
The integrated casinos proposed would get built far from residential areas. The authorities in Osaka have issued a green light for the construction of casinos on the artificial island situated in Osaka Bay. The governor of Osaka, Ichiro Matsui recently voiced his concerns over the unfair and strict restrictions facing enthusiastic gamblers in his locale.
Fighting Excessive Regulations
Under the proposed gambling bill, Osaka residents have to declare their private ID details before being allowed to gamble. Such measures are meant to act as a deterrent to addiction gambling. If a particular identity card shows up frequently on the system, that person gets banned from gambling.
Matsui labeled the move to track gamblers as counter-intuitive since only a handful of people had such cards. If the entire populace possessed those cards, then, the idea would make perfect sense, the governor argues.
The governor, Ichiro Matsui is 100% opposed to these excessive regulations. The strict laws are detrimental to the ambitious plans to transform Osaka into a leading tourist attraction city in the coming years, Mr. Matsui said in a press conference.
Double Standards Accusations
Matsui criticized the Japanese government for the double standards in addressing the legalization of casinos. On one hand, the government seems genuinely interested in boosting the economy of the rural areas by allowing casino resorts to operate. But, there are still too many regulations facing the prospective casino owners and gamblers alike.