The director general of the preparation office for the Japan Casino Regulatory Commission, Makoto Nakagawa, says the country is aiming to get similar benefits from legalising casino gambling as those Singapore has enjoyed since 2010 when the city-state’s two casino resorts opened doors.
“The goals of the integrated resorts (IRs) in Japan are not so different from Singapore’s,” Mr Nakagawa reportedly told Singaporean media outlet the Straits Times. He added: “We are looking to boost the future of Japan like the IRs did for Singapore.”
Large-scale casino resorts – typically including big hotels, conference facilities and shops and known locally in Japan and Singapore as integrated resorts or “IRs” – have been presented by Japan’s national government as a useful form of economic stimulus and a way to boost inbound international tourism.
Authorities in Singapore have credited the city-state’s two casino resorts with helping enrich Singapore’s tourism offer and enhance its position as a global city for business and leisure.
Mr Nakagawa’s comments were made on the sidelines of the 5th Singapore Symposium on Gambling Regulation and Crime. The two-day event ends on Friday and features a line-up of high-profile speakers, including the heads of the regulatory agencies in each of the world’s top-three gaming jurisdictions by gross gaming revenue: Macau, Singapore and Nevada in the United States.
In his comments to the Strait Times, Mr Nakagawa reportedly praised Singapore’s gaming-related regulatory framework, and its focus on promotion of responsible gambling. Like the city-state, Japan has decided to introduce an entry fee for Japanese wanting to gamble at the casino resorts the country plans to build. Japan has also imposed limits on the number of monthly visits Japanese will be allowed to make to its domestic casinos.
Japan’s IR Implementation Act, passed in July last year, stipulates that the basic policy for the development of integrated resorts should be put forward within two years. Japanese media outlet Sankei Shimbun reported earlier this month – citing unnamed sources – that the national authorities planned to have such policy on IRs ready by March-end next year.
Up to three IRs will be permitted in a first stage of market liberalisation. Some of the places in Japan in the race to host a casino resort include Yokohama, Osaka, Nagasaki and Wakayama.
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