After almost six long years of preparation, Japan is about to open its brand new casino industry. Starting in 2016, the integrated resort development project sought to build on new legislation allowing the construction of brick-and-mortar casinos in the country.
In the past, any prospective gambler looking for a Japanese casino would have had to venture into the online space. Now it looks as if an exciting new sector really is about to start a new era of servicing native Japanese punters as well as tourists.
Integrated ResortsThe Japan Casino Regulatory Commission recently published a series of updates about its aims for the forthcoming launch of the casinos.
“The IR Development Act is meant to achieve attractive, long-stay tourism that is competitive on an international scale by utilising sound casino business operations, run under appropriate national monitoring and management and promoting the development of IR regions.”
It was also reported by Inside Asian Gaming that it has been agreed which games will be permitted.
“The nine games are listed as baccarat (2 types), blackjack (4 types), poker (8 types), roulette, Sic Bo, craps, Casino War, money wheel and pai gow. Electronic games are also permitted.”
Extreme PrecautionsIt is clear from all of the information provided thus far that the Japanese government is taking no chances for this exercise to blow up in their faces. Fears of gambling addiction have been voiced strongly by opponents and any indication of a problem along these lines brewing in the country would cause embarrassment for politicians.
All of the well known shenanigans that go on in American casinos have been ruled out right away. For starters, the time must be displayed clearly in all areas of the gaming floor. This old trick to fool gamblers into not realising how late it is by not having any clocks is a tried and tested method to increase the customer’s time spent at the tables or machines.
Advertising and incentives to gamble will also be strictly regulated. And while tourists will have free rein to spend as much time gambling as they wish, locals will be restricted to only three visits per week or ten per four-week period.
There will also be a JPY 6,000 (US$53) entry fee applying to everyone.
It looks like all the stops have been pulled out to do a proper job from the ground up, including money laundering prevention. Chips are not allowed to be transferred nor removed from the property, and transactions of more than JPY 1 million must be reported to the authorities.
DelaysDue to the chaos caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the submission process for licenses has been delayed by almost one year. Currently the period ends in April 2022 during which integrated resort proposals will be accepted from all interested parties.
Competition is expected to be tight as lawmakers are still insisting on a limit of only three integrated resorts inside Japan.
It is also likely that bids will come from a variety of companies as the resort layout will preclude any standalone gaming facilities. There will be far more about the properties that are tourism related than actual gambling.