Residents of Japan may face biometric checks before entering nation's future casinos


The government is considering allowing the use of biometrics, such as facial and vein recognition, for the personal identification of visitors to Japan’s casinos in an effort to prevent gambling addiction, sources have said.

The checks would target Japanese visitors and foreign residents of Japan.

A law allowing so-called integrated resorts was enacted in December 2016, effectively lifted a ban on casinos. The government is working to submit a bill on details of such resorts later this month.

The government has previously examined the use of My Number cards to identify visitors to casinos. But some ruling-bloc lawmakers are calling for alternative sources of identification, because only 10 percent of the country’s population is carrying the ID cards, according to the sources.

At a meeting of ruling-bloc lawmakers on Feb. 15, the government presented plans to require identity checks for all casino visitors, using passports for visitors from overseas and My Number cards for those living in Japan, including foreign residents.

The aim is to limit the number of casino visits by people living in Japan as a measure to prevent gambling addiction. Identity checks would be necessary to monitor their visits. The government will work with the Liberal Democratic Party-led ruling coalition to set the details of biometric and other identification methods.

Even if the biometric option is established, however, residents of Japan would be required to present their My Number cards to get their biometric data linked with the cards when they visit casinos for the first time.