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Japan’s Gambling Regulator Considering New Problem Gambling Measures

Over the past few years Japan has loosened its stance on gambling. Commercial casinos were legalised back in 2016, and 2018 saw resort casinos first opening in the country. While the three available resort casino licenses are yet to be issued, they’re expected to bring in significant amounts of revenue. One site – Yokohama – looks to bring in over $12 billion of investment.

However, while gambling is becoming more widespread in Japan, experts have voiced concerns over the rise of gambling addiction. Already, there exist over 9,200 pachinko halls throughout Japan. These halls allow residents to play a game which is a mixture of an arcade and slot machine.

It’s a huge billion-dollar industry, and the pachinko industry brings in more gambling revenues than Singapore, Macau and Las Vegas combined. Naturally, the widespread nature of these halls has already led to significant gambling problems in the country, and casinos are expected to make the situation worse.

Stringent New Measures Proposed

One of the ways in which authorities are attempting to curb the rising problem gambling epidemic is to limit gambling advertisements to Japan’s international airports and cruise ship terminals. That’s not likely to be enough, however, and a new five-member task force has been formed to study the potential harmful affects of these new casinos.

One of the possible protections for problem gamblers that’s been proposed is the use of facial recognition technology. If a gambler felt as though they had a problem they could register with a scheme – using a photograph of themselves – and these recognition cameras would prevent that person from accessing gambling establishments.

Another measure is that authorities are looking to ban ATMs at all casinos. This would aim to prevent problem gamblers from taking out more money than they could afford, thus limiting how much they could lose.

Japan’s government is also planning a large survey to look at issues associated with problem gambling. This includes everything from debt, suicide rates, poverty, abuse and crime.

Schools are also going to be required to teach pupils of the dangers of gambling. Whether these measures will work or not remains to be seen – however, it’s a necessary step in Japan’s eyes to ensure they’re seen to be doing something.