The Japanese government started on Monday discussing measures to prevent gambling addiction in the country, Japanese newswire service Jiji Press reported. That was the same day as legislation making legal casino gambling in Japan came officially into effect.
Participants at Monday’s meeting in Tokyo included: Chief Cabinet Minister Yoshihide Suga; Health, Labour and Welfare Minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki; and National Public Safety Commission chairman Jun Matsumoto, Jiji Press reported.
“We need to take thorough measures to prevent easy gambling addiction, including from existing publicly managed racing and games,” the media outlet quoted Mr Suga as saying. He reportedly ordered the ministers participating in the meeting to compile specific measures to fight gambling addiction.
A government-backed study in August 2014 concluded that 4.8 percent of the Japanese adult population, or about 5.36 million people, had a gambling problem.
Casino legalisation in Japan will be a two-statute process. After approval of the enabling bill legalising casino resorts at the conceptual level, a second piece of legislation has now to be passed, detailing the specifics, including how casinos are administered and regulated.
The casino enabling law already includes provisions related to preventing problem gambling. An upper house committee of the country’s parliament introduced part of these provisions during a review of the bill prior to its final approval.
A number of Japanese politicians and news outlets in the country have previously referred to a Singapore-style system of safeguards for a casino industry in Japan. In Singapore, citizens and permanent residents of the city-state wishing to enter the two casino resorts there are required to present identification and pay a levy either for 24-hour access or a 12-month permit.
On December 19, the Nikkei Asian Review news outlet reported that safeguards against gambling addiction being considered by the Japanese government included ensuring that anyone deemed “at-risk” would have their access to casino premises limited.
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"After a challenging period, the Macau market is growing again, and its growth rate has been accelerating for three consecutive quarters. Our Macau operation is experiencing strong growth in both our mass gaming and non-gaming segments"
Chairman of gaming operator Las Vegas Sands and subsidiary Sands China