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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 20 - 26  > Casino implementation bill sent to Upper House
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2018 June 20 - 26 [POLITICS]

Casino implementation bill sent to Upper House

June 20, 2018

A bill to lay down rules on casino operations in accordance with the law on the promotion of casino-centric integrated resorts (IR) was passed in the House of Representatives plenary meeting on June 19 with a majority vote of the Liberal Democratic Party, Komei Party, and Nippon Ishin no Kai. The Japanese Communist Party voted against the bill.

Prior to the vote, JCP lawmaker Shiokawa Tetsuya took the rostrum and stressed that a large majority of the public does not support the bill. Shiokawa criticized the ruling block for having put the bill to the vote in the June 15 House Cabinet Committee meeting after only 18 hours of discussion in defiance of opposition parties’ call for thorough deliberations. He said, “The government and the ruling parties intend to steamroller the bill through the Diet without sufficiently providing relevant information to the general public. Such an attitude tramples on the principles of parliamentary democracy.”

Shiokawa also said that the legalization of casino gambling will increase the number of gambling addicts in Japan, which is already one of the highest levels in the world. He refuted the government’s assertion that the bill is designed to introduce the world’s strictest regulations. Shiokawa noted that the government stopped short of including in the bill an initially-planned upper limit on the size of casinos. He criticized the bill for allowing casino operators to lend money to gamblers, which is prohibited for operators of pachinko pinball parlors and public gambling venues such as horse racing and bicycle racing.

The JCP lawmaker pointed to a flaw in the bill’s stipulation to create a committee as a regulatory organization of casinos. Saying that the committee would be dependent on casino operators in terms of funding and human resources, the JCP lawmaker suspected that the ostensibly watchdog body will give a boost to casino businesses rather than put a brake on them.

Saying that the removal of a ceiling on the total floor space of casino facilities and the legalization of the loan operations are what U.S. casino operators have demanded, Shiokawa insisted that the bill must be scrapped as it will only serve the interests of casino businesses.

Opinion poll results published on June 18 indicated that around 70% of the respondents are opposed to the bill. Asked whether the bill should be enacted in the current session of the Diet, 73% of the respondents said, “No” in the Asahi Shimbun survey and 69% in both the Yomiuri Shimbun and Kyodo News polls.

Past related article:
> Casinos may involve money lending operations [May 24, 2018]
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