Japan have recently announced plans to limit casino visits throughout the country.Individual casino trips will be limited to 10 per month. The plan comes after statistics revealed 3.2 million Japanese citizens admit to suffering from a gambling addiction.
When it comes to enforcing stringent regulatory measures across a host of industries, nations in Asia blaze a trail for others to follow. We recently saw the use of anonymous bank accounts in cryptocurrency trading banned in Korea, and while this was motivated by a desire to prevent money laundering it also counters one of the main benefits of utilising digital currency.
More recently, Japanese authorities have announced plans to limit casino visits nationwide, in a bid to curb problem gambling and potentially safeguard vulnerable individuals.
In this post, we'll look at the ban in closer detail, and ask whether or not it will help the Japanese government to achieve its core objectives.
What is the Japanese Government Proposing?
The proposal has been formed quite recently, as a response to concerning statistics that have emerged after casino gameplay was legalised in 2016.
More specifically, figures released in September last year revealed that around 3.2 million Japanese citizens were suffering from some form of gambling addiction. Many have since opined that this issue has emerged as a result of citizens having far greater access to casino gameplay, and this has promoted the government to take direct action.
If the proposal was to be implemented in its current form, the government has announced plans to limit individual casino visits to no more than 10 per month. If we break this down further, up to three visits would be allowed during a period of seven consecutive days, limiting each individual's access to gameplay and theoretically forcing them to tackle any issues with problem gambling that they may have.
The ban would apply to both Japanese nationals and foreign visitors, which has raised wider concerns about revenues and the ability of casinos to generate a viable, taxable profit.
What has been the Reaction, and will the Proposal be Effective?
The government recently presented these plans to lawmakers, in the hope of pushing the legislation through quickly. However, the plan has already met with serious opposition, with the nation's Liberal Democrat Party saying that the proposed restriction is far too prohibitive. This, along with concerns about oppressing the profitability of casinos, means that negotiations will have to continue in earnest if a final plan is to be passed by the two ruling parties.
There are also concerns about the introduction of identity cards as a way of tracking casino visits and activity, as this raises huge issues concerning privacy and each player's individual liberties. With these points in mind, it's highly unlikely that the proposed bill will be passed in its current form, with the government's opposition keen on applying less stringent restrictions and offering far greater freedom for those visiting the country.
The proposed method of tracking visits and imposing such legislation is also likely to be a significant bone of contention, as it's hard to imagine any progressive, modern government forcing citizens to carry identify cards with embedded tracking software in 2018.
From an objective perspective, it's also worth asking whether or not imposing such legislation will prove effective in the modern age. While online gambling is largely prohibited in Japan, those who are motivated enough could look to mitigate the casino ban by seeking out virtual and mobile operators from overseas.
Even if this proves to be beyond the means of most gamblers, the issue of imposing a physical gambling ban may also prove tricky. In fact, any potential tracking measure could be successfully circumnavigated by resourceful individuals, and particularly those who are gripped by a gambling addiction.
This means that the government may need to relax its proposals if they are to prove successful, while the government should also focus on educating gamblers about the perils of addiction. For now, this will be an interesting space to watch and one that will have a huge influence on the market in the future.