IR bill critics target article on moneylending

Article 85 of the IR Implementation Bill, which will allow operators to lend money to casino guests, is coming under particularly heavy criticism from opponents of the legislation, who fear that this system will exacerbate problem gambling and other social concerns.

Article 85, entitled “Regulation of the Specified Money Lending Business,” allows operators to lend money to any foreign tourist as well as to Japan residents who deposit a yet-to-be-determined amount of money in a bank account controlled by the casino operator.

The article specifies various limitations, including that the maximum repayment term shall be set at two months.

Article 85 was cited as a specific problem by the Japan Federation of Shiho-Shoshi Lawyers’ Associations in their June 5 declaration of opposition to the IR Implementation Bill.

On June 10, the Asahi Shimbun also took aim at this provision in an editorial: “Such a setup is prohibited in publicly operated forms of gambling on the grounds that customers could end up immersed in debt if the operators were allowed to fund them… the central government has explained that a loan will only be made after the borrower’s solvency and other circumstances are investigated, and a deposit is taken. Officials have said, however, that details of the system will only be defined by a Cabinet order after the bill becomes law.”