Japan

Ruling parties agree on casino visit restrictions for Japan residents

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Japan's ruling parties agreed Tuesday to impose weekly and monthly restrictions on the number of visits residents of the country can make to casinos, as lawmakers attempt to prevent problem gambling.

In their talks on a bill that will allow casino gambling in Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner the Komeito party endorsed the plan to limit the number of casino visits to three times a week and 10 per month for people living in Japan.

However, the coalition partners remained apart over the number of casinos that will be permitted to be established, and their entrance fees for residents of Japan, clouding the outlook for the bill that is likely to be submitted to the Diet during the current session through June 20.

At their meeting Tuesday, the LDP made a new proposal of setting a 5,000 yen ($48) entrance fee per person for residents of Japan, while Komeito stuck to its original plan of 8,000 yen, which it considers "at least a level similar to that of Singapore."

Government bureaucrats had proposed setting the entrance fee at 2,000 yen per person for residents of Japan while providing free admission for foreign visitors. The government hopes casinos at resorts, also encompassing hotels and event facilities, will help attract more foreign tourists and boost regional economies.

As for the number of casinos to allow, the LDP calls for at least four or five given the number of local governments that have expressed interest in hosting them, and Komeito proposes a maximum of to two or three.

Komeito is concerned about the issue of problem gambling as about 3.2 million Japanese adults are suspected to have suffered addiction, according to a government survey.

© KYODO

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