Business

Ruling parties agree on casino visit restrictions for Japan residents

Kyodo

Japan’s ruling parties agreed Tuesday to impose weekly and monthly restrictions on the number of visits residents can make to casinos as lawmakers seek to prevent problem gambling.

In discussions on a bill that will allow casinos to open in Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito endorsed a plan to limit the number of visits to three per week and 10 per month for residents.

However, the coalition partners remained divided over the number of casinos that will be permitted in the country and entrance fees for residents of Japan, casting a cloud over prospects for the bill. The legislation is likely to be submitted to the Diet during the current session, which runs through June 20.

At their meeting Tuesday, the LDP made a new proposal of setting a ¥5,000 ($48) entrance fee per person for residents of Japan, while Komeito stuck to its original figure of ¥8,000 — which it considers “at least a level similar to that of Singapore.”

Government bureaucrats had proposed setting the entrance fee at ¥2,000 per person for residents of Japan while providing free admission for foreign visitors. The government hopes casinos at resorts, which will also include hotels and event facilities, will help attract more foreign tourists and boost regional economies.

As for the number of casinos that will be allowed, the LDP is calling for at least four or five given the number of local governments that have expressed interest in hosting them. Komeito has proposed a maximum of two or three.

Komeito is concerned about the issue of problem gambling; about 3.2 million adults in Japan are suspected to have gambling addictions, according to a government survey.