Long road for the Japan Casino School

Masayoshi Oiwane, head of the Japan Casino School, has been working for almost two decades to bring the IR industry to his nation, and now the graduates of his school are well-positioned to gain jobs on the casino floor.

The Japan Casino School opened its doors in April 2004, originally lured by then-Governor Shintaro Ishihara’s plans to establish a casino along the Tokyo waterfront by around 2006 or 2007. Governor Ishihara’s plans foundered, however, when he couldn’t find an acceptable way around the national laws that forbade gambling, and he has unable to get national leaders to quickly embrace new legislation.

“We were too early,” Oiwane observes ruefully.

In the decade and a half since that time, Oiwane has been patiently lobbying Japanese lawmakers to legalize casino gambling, as well as educating a generation of young people as dealers and other casino floor jobs.

At this point, the school has about 700 graduates, of which roughly 20 percent have found jobs in overseas casinos, with the largest number—about 60—in Singapore.

Oiwane estimates that once the Japan IRs open in the mid-2020s, there will be jobs available for about 5,000 dealers throughout the country, of which roughly 60 percent will be graduates of his Japan Casino School.

He says it takes about two years to produce a fully qualified dealer, first a stint in the classroom, followed by an extended period of on-the-job training.

In April, the Japan Casino School opened a small branch in Osaka, and Oiwane will consider additional branches in smaller regional cities should they succeed in gaining IR licenses.

Oiwane feels that young people hired as dealers will have a good career ahead of them, with few barriers in terms of age or gender discrimination. Salaries may range up to about JPY10 million (US$92,000) annually.

Finally, Oiwane believes that Japan is poised to create the world’s best casinos in terms of service and hospitality, and it is for that role he has been educating the students.