Japanese Casino Plan Put On Hold Again

Japan’s plan to introduce casino gambling could have potentially generated upwards of $40-billion a year in the country of 127 million people. However, all bets are off for now after the government officially disbanded the 30-member team placed in charge of devising legislation for the ambitious proposal.
The bill that would have made casinos legal in Japan had already encountered numerous delays after being introduced in parliament, and following news of the recent development has now effectively become a dead piece of legislation until the fall, at the very least.
Optimists had originally hoped that the issue would be settled in time for a number of casino resorts to be built ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. International gambling operators had even been lining up to take advantage of any sudden opening in the Japanese market, with Las Vegas Sands Corp having put forward its proposal to build a $10 billion casino resort on the island.
However, concerns over the potential social problems associated with casino gambling have served to stymie lawmakers attempts to repeal the country’s ban on casinos. While only a number of gambling activities are currently permitted in Japan, including the lottery, horse racing, and betting on some motor sports, the country still has a high rate of gambling addiction, with 5.36 million people, or 4.8% of the adult population, considered addicts. From that total, 1 million people are considered to suffer from a severe addiction requiring medical attention.
In 2014, the Kurihama addiction center was subsequently opened in Tokyo, and currently almost 90% of its visitors are addicted to the numerous pachinko pinball and slot machines offered in Japan, which ironically are not considered gambling according to the law. As the Addiction Center’s head of the psychiatry, Yasunobu Komoto, explains:
“My duty is to find the factors behind severe gambling disorders and develop treatment based on them.. I cannot tell whether the opening of casinos would get more people addicted. In any case, it’s imperative to establish environments to offer them proper advice and treatment.”

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