OSAKA — The nation’s first academic association specializing in the economic effects of gambling, including horse racing and pachinko, has been established in Osaka Prefecture.

About 50 members, including scholars, bankers and pachinko machine manufacturers, took part in the inaugural meeting last week of the Japan Academy of Gambling and Gaming Studies at the Osaka University of Commerce in Higashi-Osaka.

The members said the group was created in a bid to eradicate gambling’s negative image and change it into wholesome recreation.

The group will study the economic effects that venues such as pachinko parlors and race tracks have on local communities, the members said.

They hope the group will shed light on the effects of gambling on relieving stress, as well as on the effects of gambling addiction.

The results of their studies will be released in papers and newsletters.

They said the group will discuss the legitimacy of legalizing casinos in Japan and make recommendations to municipalities if necessary.

“We would like to make policy proposals related to gambling,” said Ichiro Tanioka, who is the head of the university and will also lead the association.

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