Japan Publishes Casino Rules

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The lucrative casino market in Japan is yet to be realized despite tremendous efforts in the past. However, a new development might just take things a bit further.


Lawmakers in Japan have passed the IR or Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill, which aims to establish the regulations for the gambling and casino industry. This has naturally attracted the attention of major gambling operators from the US, such as Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International.


With the new bill being put in place, Japan will open its doors for 3 casino complexes to be built, which is the current limit. Things may change based on how the industry progresses. The country has also implemented an entry of $55 fee for local gamblers, followed by a limit on the number of times they can visit these casinos each month.


The rules, which some see as being counterproductive, are actually designed to help the country stimulate international tourism. The country has no intention of generating revenue by making gambling accessible to its own citizens. The country has always held a skeptical position with regard to the industry and is very serious about keeping gambling addiction at bay.

The current legislation will likely pass by July if media reports are to be believed.


An Old Fight


Japan had actually legalized casinos in 2016. However, the associated legislation did not include the rules concerning implementation. If things go as hoped for in the parliament this summer, Japan will have its first casino in the next 5 years. The bidding for the licenses starts next year.

There was an initial plan to have at least one casino launched by 2020, just in time for the Olympics. However, the topic has been a complex challenge to deal with for the country.


Poker Gets the Green Signal


There were plans to restrict Poker as part of a plan to encourage only games that were fair i.e. involved a high degree of chance. However, after realizing that there will be dealers to ensure fairness, the government has decided to permit the game.


Poker is extremely popular in Japan and officials are hoping that it will boost the IR’s power to draw in investors.


The IR bill now makes it very clear that casino operators must guarantee fairness and limit the games to the casino floor. Even the betting games will have to be based on chance. So, as of now, Japanese casinos will offer baccarat, blackjack, and roulette etc.


Games with outcomes that depend on an individual’s skill, such as mahjong will still be restricted.


About the Author

- iGaming & land based specialist reporter for the global gaming market