Japan to collect part of casino revenue to finance steps against gambling addiction

JIJI, Staff Report

The government is considering collecting some of the revenue from casino operators mainly to finance measures to help prevent gambling addiction, sources said.

The Diet enacted a law to legalize casinos in December amid ongoing public concerns over potential social ills, including surges in gambling addiction and organized crime.

The nation is plagued by high rates of gambling addiction stemming from its tolerance of pachinko and other types of betting activities, including horse, boat and bicycle races.

The government plan calls for splitting the collected revenue between the central and local governments, and it will also be used to beef up social welfare measures and promote arts and culture, the sources said Monday.

The system will be included in a planned bill that sets guidelines for integrated resorts set to include casinos, the sources said. The government aims to submit the bill to an extraordinary Diet session seen starting this fall.

The government hopes to introduce casino regulations at the world’s highest standards and set up a casino oversight committee as an affiliate of the Cabinet Office. It is considering slapping tough penalties for violations, including revoking business licenses.

The plan calls for distributing the funds for tourism promotion across wide areas, including some that don’t host casinos, the sources said.