Fumio Kishida has doubled down on his stance on online casinos in Japan. The country’s prime minister has stated that these platforms will remain illegal and insisted that all online casino organizations will not be tolerated. Prime minister Kishida’s comments come as a response to Issei Yamagishi’s questions.
Yamagishi Claimed That the Number of Online Casinos Has Been Increasing
During a lower house budget committee meeting on June 1, Yamagishi, who is a councilman of the Constitutional Democratic Party, noted that the number of inquiries connected to online casinos has been increasing.
In 2014, the number of online casino inquiries was around 100, but in 2020, inquiries in this field increased to 500. Additionally, Yamagishi stated that according to estimates, the number of online casino players in Japan is around 2 million. Horse racing online betting has around 5 million bettors, 1.17 million bet on boat racing and 3.29 bet on keirin.
Kishida responded to these claims by stating that if this act of gambling is happening on Japanese soil, it is considered a crime. He also added that there were some arrests connected to online casinos and noted that authorities “cannot allow illegal organizations to expand.”
After being asked about which authority regulates online casinos in Japan, Kishida responded that “there is not just one.” He stated that several agencies and ministries are in charge of enforcing the laws in that field.
Gambling Addiction and Integrated Resorts Were Also Mentioned
Yamagishi asked the prime minister whether the Basic Plan has specific initiatives to combat addiction. Kishida responded that the Basic Plan has measures on preventing addiction from legal gambling and that since online casinos are illegal, the Basic Plan is focused on preventing these sites, rather than combating possible addiction.
Finally, concerns connected to integrated resorts were also raised. Yamagishi claims that if the government cannot deal with online casinos, it won’t be ready to deal with the potential societal threats that IRs will bring. Kishida noted that the government will be more than ready to regulate IRs.
Soon, the Japan Casino Regulatory Commission will reevaluate its screening standards and noted that it will take the public’s opinion into consideration when the process of issuing casino licenses begins. The period for commenting will be open until June 17.
One of the companies that are looking to build an IR in Japan is Bally’s. Recently, Bally’s revealed that it has developed a plan for a $3.9 billion resort in Fukuoka and stated that it hopes that the Japanese government will consider and accept this bid. According to some estimates, the IR is set to boost tourism as it can attract as many as 4.6 million visitors each year.
Back in March, both Osaka and Nagasaki submitted their bids for integrated resorts, two days ahead of the deadline.