The government of Japan’s Wakayama prefecture – which would like to have a tilt at having a casino resort – has announced a draft version of local countermeasures against what it terms gambling addiction among consumers. On Tuesday it announced a public-consultation period on the proposals, running from that day until March 27.
The prefectural government had previously confirmed to GGRAsia a harm mitigation initiative – known as an “IR card” - specifically aimed at Japanese that might wish to gamble in any such casino complex or integrated resort (IR) as such facilities are known in that country.
According to the draft harm-mitigation plan announced by the Wakayama government, other steps include providing education to local residents regarding compulsive gambling; providing consultation services to support individuals that might have such a problem or are suspected of having one; and developing medical resources that can respond to gambling-addiction problems.
Wakayma prefecture had previously noted to GGRAsia it aimed to launch in “late March or the beginning of April” a request-for-proposal process to choose a private-sector partner for its IR effort. Eligible local governments will need to apply during the first seven months of 2021 to the national government for the right to have such a project.
All the contending local governments – up to three resorts will be allowed in a first phase of liberalisation – must develop local harm-mitigation policies to supplement ones required by the central government.
The national basic plan for gambling addiction counter measures, was outlined via a cabinet resolution in April 2019. Prior to that, a Japanese official had described the planned regime as among the toughest in the world.
Japan’s IR Implementation Law – approved in July 2018 – clarified that an entry levy of JPY6,000 (about US$57) would be imposed on Japanese citizens and residents of Japan wishing to enter a casino. Citizens are to be restricted to three casino visits a week and a maximum of ten per month.
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”Our own consensus is that any newcomers to this [junket] sector should be corporatised, and should be financially sound and able to commit a higher guarantee deposit”
Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters