Online casinos will remain illegal, says Japan’s prime minister

Two cities have submitted bids to develop IRs in Japan.
Two cities have submitted bids to develop IRs in Japan.

Fumio Kishida has said that he will not accept online casino despite allowing the development of integrated resorts in the country.

Japan.- The prime minister of Japan has ruled out the possibility of allowing online casino gaming in the country. At a meeting with the budget committee of the lower house last Wednesday, Fumio Kishida said online casinos would not be legalised and that efforts to combat illegal gambling would be strengthened.

Issei Yamagishi, a councilman of the Constitutional Democratic Party, had told the prime minister that the number of online casino players reached 2 million in 2020 and that the number of inquiries connected to online casinos has been increasing. He asked Kishida which authority regulates online casinos in Japan, to which the prime minister responded that several agencies and ministries controlled the area.

Yamagishi had also asked the prime minister if there were any specific measures to combat addiction. Kishida replied that there were measures to prevent addiction to legal gambling, but since online casinos are illegal, work focuses on preventing the sites rather than combating potential addiction.

Concerns related to integrated resorts were also raised at the meeting. Yamagishi claimed that unless the government can deal with online casinos, it will not be ready to deal with the potential social problems brought by IRs. However, Kishida said the government was ready to regulate IRs.

The application window for Japan’s proposed three integrated resort licences has passed with only two bids submitted. The two contenders are Osaka and Nagasaki. They both submitted IR District Development Plans that were approved by their city councils and then prefectural assemblies.

Japan’s Casino Regulatory Commission will listen to public feedback regarding its casino operator screening criteria until June 17. Authorities said public comments will be taken into account when the process of issuing casino licences begins. 

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GAMBLING REGULATION integrated resorts