Japan bill to seek to ban addicts from casinos

The Japanese government expects to draft a system by this summer to tackle gambling addiction and is considering ways to ban serious addicts from casinos, local media reported, citing government sources.

Under the proposals, those who wish to overcome their problem could notify local gambling facilities to restrict access. The proposals would include pachinko parlours.

Any facility that recognizes a person with an addiction can ban entry or expel the visitor from the premises. If the addiction is less serious, the operator could limit the number of visits allowed.

Addiction levels may also be judged through medical certification, the report said.

Japan passed a bill to legalize casinos in December, paving the way for what is expected to be one of the world’s biggest gambling markets. However, public opinion remains opposed to the concept, mainly due to concerns about problem gambling.

A government survey in March said that 2.7 percent of respondents reported experiencing some form of gambling addiction at some point in their lives, or about 2.8 million people.

Most named pachinko or hybrid pachinko-slot machines as where they had spent the most money.

The government is currently drawing up a second bill that will outline the details of how the casino industry will work, including the number of IRs. While details are not known, the consensus view at present is that locals will be allowed into casinos, though potentially with an entry fee similar to that in Singapore.

However, Wakayama Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka has said that to make casinos politically acceptable in his prefecture, they should be restricted to foreigners only.