Casino money lending scheme may face legal challenges

Anti-casino lawyers argue that the controversial Article 85 of the IR Implementation Bill, which would allow operators to lend money to casino guests, is not simply a concern from the point of view of problem gambling, but may in fact be open to legal challenges in the future.

Critics point to Article 90 of the Civil Code which states, “Legal acts which run contrary to public order or virtuous customs are invalid.”

Lawyer Osamu Mikami, secretary-general of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations’ Casino and Gambling Issues Working Group, is quoted in Akahata newspaper as saying that “debt from gambling is different from normal debt,” and that this may affect the measures that lenders can use to force repayment under the law.

He adds, “Although casino operators are supposed to set loan limits only after determining the customer’s ability to repay, it is doubtful if this will work out very well. I think it will be possible to challenge the validity of such loan contracts in court.”