3 Japanese Regions Apply for Integrated Casinos, Others Cite Safety Concerns

Japanese currency with dice

30-second summary

  • Three areas in Japan have submitted applications to have integrated casinos
  • Construction expected to begin by mid-2020
  • Extra money could boost regions’ economy

Hopeful applicants

A survey has found that areas in Japan are concerned about public safety after applications from three areas to host legalized casino resorts.

The three areas in question include the Osaka Prefecture and the Japanese city of Osaka, which are hoping to host one casino, in addition to the Wakayama Prefecture and Nagasaki Prefecture, reports Japan Today.

They have already selected sites for the potential casinos and are in the stage of finalizing their plans.

According to the report, the three facilities are hopeful that the success of the casino applications will create new jobs, bringing economic benefits. However, not everyone is onboard with the idea.

Critics argue that it will increase gambling addiction. Last April, it was reported that people residing in Japan would be charged a 6,000 yen (£41.60; $55) entrance fee to casinos in an attempt to tackle the problem of gambling addiction. For tourists, though, there would be no entrance fee.

The Miyagi Prefecture, north of Tokyo, has highlighted its concerns over the possible deterioration of public safety while also worrying that it could lead to a rise in the number of people battling gambling debts. Shimane Prefecture, a coastal district located in the western part of Japan’s Honshu Island, argued that it is promoting tourism by “taking advantage of nature and history.”

A survey conducted between November and December covered all of Japan’s 47 districts and 20 cities, which are permitted to apply for the integrated resorts, featuring casinos, conference rooms, and hotels.

The report notes that the Japanese government is aiming to see these resorts located in three areas. It’s expected that construction will begin by mid-2020.

Nagoya, in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, is considering making an application as it searches for a location that is suitable. Meanwhile, local governments in Tokyo, Hokkaido, Ibaraki Prefecture, and the cities of Chiba and Yokohama, are thinking about submitting applications; however, they remain in the research stage.

Around 17 local governments remain “undecided” and 40 have said that they will “not apply” for the program.

Ending the ban

At the end of 2016, Japan’s parliament passed a law legalizing casinos. That ended 15 years of political tension over the issue, paving the way for casinos to be integrated into hotels, conferences rooms, and shopping centers in Japan.

While steps are being made for casinos to be introduced into Japan, casino advertising will be limited. A report from last Friday suggested that such advertising would be restricted to international terminals at airports and seaports.

This move is an attempt to stop residents from falling victim to problem gambling. Regardless of the concerns, though, it seems that Japan is keen to have casinos in the region as a way of boosting revenue for the country and to increase tourist numbers.

With the 2025 World Expo six years away, which Osaka is hoping to host, the governor of the city indicated in April that the area could have one of the first casinos up and running by 2023.