Lawmaker questions pachinko industry’s fitness to participate in IR casinos

Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan lawmaker Takashi Takai delivered a broadside against the domestic pachinko industry’s hopes of participating in IR casinos in a series of pointed questions submitted to the government on May 9, suggesting that they are morally unfit.

After pointing out that “pachinko offers services that are substantially equivalent to gambling” and is in fact the main source of gambling addiction in Japan.

The timing is important, Representative Takai argues, because the current Diet session “may possibly become a great turning point in our nation’s gambling administration.” He added, “In addition to discussing each individual gambling practice, it is essential to consider legislation and reforms from a cross-sectional perspective.”

Takai went on to highlight recent cases in which the pachinko industry is suspected of tampering with machines, and though the government has been conducting an investigation, no results have been published in spite of quite a long time passing.

He concluded, “Considering that there was a major tampering case by pachinko makers from a mere three years ago, I believe we must take a strict view towards their participation in the casino industry. Also, the National Public Safety Commission as well as the prefectural public safety commissions have proven themselves unable to prevent large-scale tampering by the pachinko makers and therefore it is inappropriate to have them supervise the casino business. I think that a different agency must be given oversight authority over the casino industry, but I ask the government’s view.”

Several major pachinko companies have expressed interest in becoming IR operators in Japan, namely Universal Entertainment, Sega Sammy, and Heiwa.