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ECONOMY

Japanese gov’t mulls limiting casino visits to 10 per month

  • February 15, 2018
  • , Kyodo News , 4:13 p.m.
  • English Press

The Japanese government on Thursday presented ruling lawmakers a plan to limit the number of times people living in the country can enter casinos to around 10 per month.

The plan is part of measures to prevent gambling addiction, but it has already met with opposition from lawmakers of the Liberal Democratic Party, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with some saying the envisioned restriction is too strict.

Amid differences of opinions between the government and the ruling coalition of the LDP and the Komeito party, both sides will continue negotiations.

A law that took effect last year ended a ban on casinos in Japan as long as they are part of “integrated resorts” that combine hotels and large event facilities, but further legislation is required to dictate how those entertainment venues will be allowed to operate.

Under the plan, put forward by the government to the LDP and its junior coalition partner Komeito, up to three visits are allowed in seven consecutive days and 10 visits in 28 consecutive days.

Japanese nationals and foreigners living in the country are subject to the restrictions.

The government hopes the casinos will help attract more foreign tourists to Japan with the limitations not applying to those who do not live here.

If approved by the two ruling parties, the government can add such entrance restrictions to a bill on the rules to introduce casino gambling.

The government plans to submit the bill to parliament by the end of March but the prospects remain uncertain as some Komeito lawmakers continue to be against casinogambling.

In addition, the scheme is seeking to keep track of casino visits by using government-issued My Number identity cards, which have an embedded IC chip.

The government has also set 15,000 square meters as the maximum size of a casino and said they should not exceed 3 percent of the land space of the integrated resort.

Ruling lawmakers, however, have expressed doubt about the use of the identity cards, as their issuance rate stands at only about 10 percent, while some have said the area restriction will make it difficult for operators to make a profit.

Through further deliberations with the ruling parties, the government is hoping to incorporate other rules in the bill, including admission fees for Japanese visitors and the number of places where casinos can be built.

==Kyodo

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