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Gov’t: Casinos must pay for screenings

  • February 19, 2018
  • , The Japan News , 8:21 p.m.
  • English Press

The government plans to require business operators who apply to run casinos at integrated resorts to shoulder the costs of background checks (see below), The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.


Through this measure, the government seeks to exclude criminal enterprises and unqualified businesses from the application process by setting high barriers to entry, sources said.


The government will hammer out details of the examination system with the ruling parties. It plans to lay out details for the system in bills on the operation of casinos in integrated resorts, to be submitted during the current Diet session.


Background checks will be conducted by a casino management commission, which will be established within the Cabinet Office and comprise officials from the National Police Agency and other entities.


Prospective casino operators will likely be subject to a background check to acquire a business license. They will shoulder the associated costs, even if they fail the examination and cannot open a casino, the sources added.


As a result, applicants will face both financial burdens and scrutiny of their credibility. A senior Cabinet Secretariat official said of the system, “It would only allow operators who have confidence in their integrity to pursue entry.”


In countries with casinos, prospective operators are almost always subject to similar examinations to exclude people connected to organized crime.


A government source said, “The committee will expand investigations into applicants with the slightest hint of impropriety.”


In the United States, some background checks can cost the equivalent of more than ¥100 million.


As most foreign regulators force applicants to shoulder the costs of background checks, the Japanese government decided to follow such international norms, the sources said.


However, Japan lags behind other countries in terms of investigative know-how and lacks personnel qualified to conduct background checks. The government will hold discussions on the scope of investigative powers, to ensure the system works effectively.


The government will propose a system on cost burdens for background checks at an upcoming meeting of a project team led by the Liberal Democratic Party and coalition partner Komeito. It hopes to obtain Cabinet approval for the bills by mid-March.


At a project team meeting on Thursday, LDP and Komeito lawmakers offered opinions both for and against a plan to limit Japanese people’s entry into casinos to “three times a week.”


As challenges remain requiring coordination between the two parties, they may need more time to make final arrangements.


Background check


In addition to a prospective operator’s finances, its executives, employees, clients and shareholders are subject to an investigation of their past and present debts, lawsuits, and any ties to organized crime. The scope of inquiry may be expanded to include relatives and friends of employees.

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