Japan to limit maximum number of casino visits

A croupier spreads the cards at a casino. The Japanese government plans to limit the number of times Japanese visitors and others can enter casinos by requiring them to show their identification cards at entrances to the gambling halls.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

The government plans to limit the number of times Japanese visitors and others can enter casinos by requiring them to show their My Number identification cards at entrances to the gambling halls, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The government's plan, the details of which were learned Monday, is aimed at preventing gambling addiction in the wake of the establishment of integrated resorts, which comprise casinos and other facilities.

The government is also considering banning casino advertisements in areas outside of integrated-resort zones.

The government intends to compile a bill to introduce integrated resorts and submit it to an extraordinary Diet session to be convened in autumn at the earliest.

The bill will include detailed institutional designs for the resorts.

The plan highlights the need to create an integrated system to monitor the number times each person enters a casino and judge whether to permit entry.

To verify a Japanese person's identity, the plan proposes utilizing My Number identification cards embedded with IC chips, because the cards carry information such as names and facial photographs that help prevent identity theft.

The plan also stipulates introducing a system in which a casino control commission, an external bureau of the Cabinet Office, will manage the number of casino entries by each person and respond to inquiries from private companies operating such facilities.

To verify foreign tourists' identities, passports and other documents will be used.

The government will introduce both weekly and monthly caps on casino entries, with the maximum number of entries to be decided later.

Casino operators will be required to restrict the entry of self-declared gambling addicts or those whose families declare them to be addicted, while people aged under 20 and members of organised crime groups will be prohibited from entering casinos.

There is concern that lifting the ban on casinos will lead to an increase in gambling addiction.

To address the fears, the government judged it necessary to introduce tough entry restrictions.

The restriction plan was to be approved Tuesday by experts on the integrated resort promotion council and included in a proposal to be compiled in August.

Meanwhile, the issuance of My Number identification cards has remained sluggish.

Through May 15, only 11,474,475 cards, about 9 per cent of the total, have been issued. Speech