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Japan Casino bill to provide free entry to foreign visitors

Japan Casino bill to provide free entry to foreign visitors

Japan's ruling party passed a bill which paved way for casino gambling in the country. Now the people who live in Japan would be charged 6,000 yen ($57) in entrance fees but the foreign visitors would get an entry for free.

The government eyes enactment of the law by the end of the current parliament session by 20 June and the bill is expected to be submitted to the Diet later this month.

If parliament succeeds in passing the bill on "integrated resorts," many new casinos would open around mid-2020. But the bill might draw some resistance from opposition parties and the public outrage who are against casino gambling in the country. The government believes that the casinos would attract many overseas visitors and boost regional economy outside the capital.

The government passed a law in 2016 that ended a ban on casinos in integrated resorts which includes hotels, conference rooms and event facilities in Japan but they didn't provide much clarity over the further development of the legislation on actual operation of entertainment facilities.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party wanted keep the entrance fee at 5,000 yen, while its coalition partner Komeito were pressing for 8,000 yen, saying that there was a need to impose a charge at a level similar to that of Singapore to curb the problems associated with gambling.

The ruling parties of Japan have already endorsed the plan for building a few entertainment facilities in three locations and impose entrance sanctions in which they have restricted the number of times the natives can visit casinos in a month.

Kazuko Sasaki, an associate professor in Tokyo University said, "Opening IRs in only three locations can provide only limited opportunities for rural economies. Integrated resorts should open in more locations."

"The 6,000-yen entrance fee is quite high if we consider the income levels in rural areas. It could hinder the casino business by discouraging people from visiting casinos," Sasaki said.

A survey done by the government last September revealed that about 3.2 million Japanese adults had suffered the adverse impact of gambling addiction in their lifetime.