A plurality of 64% of Japanese are opposed to creating integrated resorts (IRs) with casinos in Japan, according to a Nihon Yoron Chosakai nationwide poll conducted on Dec. 7–8, 2019, through face-to-face interviews. This greatly exceeds the 32% who are in favor of the move. Meanwhile, 77% of respondents said they are opposed to having an IR open in the municipality where they live or in an area they frequent, with many expressing concern about an increase in gambling addiction and a deterioration of the living environment. Only 20% of pollees said that they would like an IR to open near them. The government aims to create up to three IRs, and Yokohama City, Osaka City/Prefecture (joint bid), Wakayama Prefecture, and Nagasaki Prefecture have expressed interest in hosting such a facility. Opposition is strong, however, and it looks like the public will take an increasingly harsh stance on IRs.
The poll revealed a high level of public interest in IRs, with a total of 83% of respondents saying that they are either “very” or “somewhat” familiar with the government move to set up such facilities.
Some 55% of men and 74% of women said that they are opposed to opening IRs in Japan. The young generation (those in their 30s or below) were divided on IRs, with 45% saying they are in favor and 51% saying they are opposed. Meanwhile, the 59% of the middle-aged generation (those in their 40s and 50s) and 77% of the older generation (those in their 60s or over) said they are opposed.
Asked why they are opposed (up to two responses permitted), 64% of respondents said “more people will become addicted to gambling,” making this the most frequently given answer. This was followed by “IRs will lead to a worsening of the living environment, including a deterioration in public safety and traffic congestion” at 48%. Asked why they are in favor (up to two responses permitted), 66% of respondents said “IRs will lead to economic revitalization and job creation through tourism promotion” and 45% said “IRs will lead to increased tax revenues for the central and local governments.”
Some 50% of respondents said that the government should prioritize the “understanding of area residents” in selecting sites to host IRs. This was followed by “measures to counter gambling addiction” at 38% and “economic impact” at 35%. The government is mulling increasing the number of sites in the future, but only 7% of respondents said that “the number of IRs should be increased from three.”
A total of 67% of respondents said the measures to prevent Japanese from becoming addicted to gambling, including limiting their entry, will be either “not very” or “not at all” effective. Some 17% of respondents said that they “would want to go to an IR” if they were set up in Japan, while 82% said that they “would not want to go.”
Some 55% of those who regularly engage in gambling, including pachinko and betting on horse races and cycle races [keirin], said they are in favor of IRs being set up in Japan. Meanwhile, only 28% of those who do not gamble said they are in favor of having IRs.
Note: Figures have been rounded off.
[Polling methodology: The survey was implemented on Dec. 7–8, 2019, based on face-to-face interviews conducted by pollsters. A total of 3,000 men and women aged 18 or over were randomly selected nationwide from 250 locations on a stratified two-stage random-sampling basis to create a cross-section of Japan’s more than 100 million voters. Responses were received from 1,504 people, excluding those who could not be interviewed due to relocation or travel. The valid response rate was 50.1%. Composition of respondents was as follows: male, 49.4%; female, 50.6%.
Sections of Fukushima Prefecture heavily impacted by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and sections of Nagano Prefecture severely impacted by Typhoon Hagibis were excluded from the survey pool.
Nihon Yoron Chosakai is a nationwide public opinion polling entity managed by Kyodo News and comprising 38 of its subscribers including the Tokyo Shimbun.]