Abe Cabinet endorses voluntary measures to combat gambling addiction

As expected, the Abe Cabinet has endorsed the new measures to combat the gambling addiction in accordance with its responsibilities under the Basic Law on Gambling Addiction Countermeasures passed by the Diet last July, but the government’s unwillingness to make any of the new measures obligatory is drawing criticism.

“We will create a healthy society by thoroughly implementing measures based on the basic plan in order to prevent people from finding themselves in difficult situations,” stated Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who presided over the meeting.

The basic plan includes measures such as removing ATMs from gambling venues, checking identifications, restrictions on advertising, creating systems for third-party exclusion of problem gamblers and setting up consultation and treatment hubs in all 47 prefectures and 20 designated cities.

Skepticism abounds regarding the actual degree of commitment that the government possesses in terms of tackling the issues surrounding gambling addiction.

The Shinano Mainichi Shinbun of Nagano Prefecture, for example, editorialized: “When we see the number of pending issues, we have the painful sense that the nation has been late in addressing gambling addiction. We also doubt that if it is right to legalize casino gambling under these conditions. The Casino Law was enacted without deciding any details about anti-addiction policies. Beyond this current plan, we request the Diet to dig further into this problem.”