Osaka Researcher Claims Japanese IR Bill Overlooks Problem Gambling

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019 | Written by April Bergman
Osaka Researcher Claims Japanese IR Bill Overlooks Problem Gambling

Osaka University of Commerce researcher Moritoshi Kido said in recent remarks that the new Japanese casino regulations overlook potential problem gambling. Moritoshi Kido spoke at the 4-day UNLV International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking this week.

Japan does not have commercial casinos yet, but has several other forms of gambling. The island nation has a national lottery and allows wagering on racing. Japan also has 9,200 pachinko parlors.

While pachinko technically skirts Japan’s gambling laws, the country’s leaders know pachinko parlors are full gambling. Pachinko machines look like a cross between pinball machines and slots, where the object of the game is to collect as many pachinko balls as possible.

Players cannot cash in the balls for cash inside the pachinko parlor, which would be considered gambling. Instead, they take their bucket of balls to a nearby cashier’s booth off-premises. The cashier there pays cash for the balls, then returns them to the parlor.

Moritoshi Kido on Japanese Casino Law

Moritoshi Kido spoke on Tuesday about problem gambling in Japan, which he says is rampant. For decades, huge pachinko companies like Sega Sammy and Universal Entertainment manufactured pachinko machines. The Korean-owned parlors operated in broad daylight, though Japanese residents maintained an ambivalent attitude towards them.

Kido claims problem gambling is an issue in the pachinko industry, but Japanese leaders have failed to address the issue. Given the government’s failure to address problem gambling in the pachinko industry, Kido believes the government is making the same mistake with the burgeoning casino industry.

Japanese Integrated Resort Bill

The Japanese IR Bill makes it difficult for problem gamblers to play in Japan’s casinos. For instance, Japanese residents cannot visit casinos more than 3 times in a 7-day period. Also, they cannot visit a casino more than 10 times in a 30-day period.

Japanese casinos handle identity verification through the “My Number Card” system. The My Number Card is a national identifiction system which works similar to driver’s license cards in the United States, but uses a national number more similar to the social security number. Anyone wanting to enter the casino must show their card, which contains data on their casino visits for that week and months.

¥6000 Japanese Casino Fee

Also, Japanese residents must pay a ¥6000 fee to enter a casino resort. The ¥6000 currently equates to about US$54, though that number stood at US$56 at the time lawmakers passed the IR bill. The upshot is players must be able to afford a casino visit, so problem gamblers naturally would not be able to enter if their habit bankrupted them.

Moritoshi Kido argued such policies misunderstand the nature of gambling addiction. Problem gamblers will max out credit cards and spend their mortgage money to enter a casino and gamble. Because such acts cause a debt spiral, Kido believes current policies won’t address the issue properly.

What’s ironic is the US casino executives for Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment balked at such policies. They are way more proactive than anyone one might find in the United States, the UK, or Australia. Professor Kido argues for the kind of policies Europeans would call “responsible gaming” — including vast helpline and hotline resources and a self-exclusion list.

About the Eadington Conference

The International Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking first occurred in 1974, when a UNR economics professor named William Eadington called an conference on gambling. Since that time, attendees have called the event the Eadington Conference. The event takes place every 3 years with venues ranging from Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe.

The Eadington Conference exists as a series of keynote addresses and panel discussions. Scholars like Moritoshi Kido present scholarly research on a wide range of gmabling and risk-taking topics.

The International Gaming Institute organizes the Eadington Conference every three years. Since William Eadington died in 2013, longtime Eadington supporter Bo Bernhard became executive director of the International Gaming Institute.