Japanese Lawmakers Look to Curb Future Problem Gambling Issues

Japanese lawmakers are considering measures to ramp up the promotion of responsible gambling and the protection of population from gambling addiction less than a month after casino gambling was legalized in the country.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s governing Liberal Democratic Party is reportedly drafting a problem gambling bill that is expected to be introduced during the Diet’s ordinary session. Japanese lawmakers are set to convene on January 20.

As noted by Japanese news outlet The Japan Times, the new legislative piece will include a comprehensive set of measures, the main purpose of which will be to address problem gambling issues that may arise from the future increase of gambling activity in the country.

The to-be-introduced legislation will probably cover not only casinos but also pachinko parlors and horse racing operations. The latter two have been available in the country for years now.

According to reports, the new bill will provide guidelines for existing and future gambling operators as well as for all concerned parties of how to make sure that people with problem gambling behavior are helped in due manner. Such people may even not be admitted to gambling facilities, if they or their relatives have requested that.

The gambling addiction prevention legislative piece comes as a response to growing concerns about the potential effects from the legalization of casino gambling in Japan.

Japanese lawmakers passed in mid-December a bill that allowed for the start of a multi-stage process for the development of integrated casino resorts in the country. Now, as casino gambling is formally legal, another bill will have to be passed, one that will set a framework for the integrated resorts’ construction and operation. It is believed that first such properties will not open before the early 2020s.

A number of industry leading casino operators have vocalized their interest to be part of Japan’s potentially highly lucrative market. Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International, companies with years of experience in the operation of integrated resorts, have been among those to have been eying Japan as an expansion destination for years now. According to analysts, the local casino market may be worth $20 billion, once casino properties are launched.

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