The Japanese government is to hold public hearings in 9 cities across the country, aiming to explain the policy, which is to regulate the nascent casino industry and allow nationals to express their opinion on the matter.
From 17th to 29th August a special committee, appointed by the government to control the gaming regulatory process will visit 9 Japanese cities in order to provide detailed information about the gambling regulatory framework. The committee will visit Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Sendai, Sapporo, Nagoya, Toyama, and Takamatsu, hoping to put an end to the rising concerns regarding gambling problems and any possible illicit practices, which the presence of a commercial land-based casino may cause,
Japan decided to regulate its casino market in December 2016, when the majority of the voters gave their support to the idea. Nevertheless, the vote was not unanimous, with a strong opposition of 44% of all the voters. They explained that they are against the casino industry as it may lead to a myriad of problems, including social ills. That is the reason why the Japanese legislators included very tight measures in the gambling bill and now they are seeking to hear the public’s opinion, which may also play an important role in crafting an adequate gambling legal framework.
Under the proposed regulations, casinos will have a cap of a maximum 15,000 square meters from the total space of each integrated resort. Earlier this year, it was explained that the main idea for the integrated resorts is to focus on the leisure activities rather than on gambling practices. The lawmakers plan to allow 2 integrated casino resorts, expected to be located in 2 of the country’s biggest cities. Tokyo, Osaka and Hokkaido seem to be the three favorites, which most probably will host an integrated casino resort.
To appease any concerns regarding gambling problems and social ills, the legislators also suggested limiting the access of the Japanese residents to the casinos by imposing them a sizeable entry fee. The proposed measures will be valid only for the Japanese nationals, while foreign tourists will be allowed to enter the casino facilities whenever they want. That is not a surprise, having in mind that Japan aims to increase the number of its foreign visitors and establish itself as an attractive tourist destination.
Currently, the lawmakers are crafting the second casino bill, which is to settle all the details regarding the operation and construction of the coming integrated resorts (IR). The initial plan was for the first resort to open by 2020 in order to coincide with the Summer Olympics, planned to take place in Tokyo. But it seems that the development of the integrated resorts will extend over a longer period of time than the aforementioned, as the process bumped into many setbacks, which slowed it down.