What Japanese think about having their own casino


Especially in Tokyo the topic of whether it makes sense to allow legally to set up a casino pops up again and again. Potentially Tokyo’s Governor Shintaro Ishihara is moving forward to have one or more casinos in hotels on Tokyo’s waterfront in Odaiba. Actually now legal gambling in Japan is limited to horse, motorboat, bicycle, and motorbike racing. A number of other activities, such as the lottery, pachinko, and mahjong (simply other versions of gambling) are classified in Japan as “amusements” and are therefore legal. So far casinos have been illegal in Japan.
At the year-end Nikkei Shimbun was doing an online survey in regard to the opinion about setting up of casinos in Japan (1032 participants). It seems that 62% of the people questioned are in favor of having a casino. The main reason in favor are the expected increased business for the area, increased tax income plus the hope to have more tourism coming to Japan. Others are happy to get an additional outlet for special entertainment. For the 38% opposing a casino, the main concern is the potential of increased criminality (60% of the responses fear to be exposed to a lesser safe daily life), when they expect an increased influence of Mafia-like activities from the local Yakuza. Further some of the respondents were concerned that with increased amusement outlets more people might get addicted to gambling.
At the end the outcome might not be as happy as the picture above, especially when neglecting the influence on the society. It is likely that much-needed tax income and additional business could create a brighter future for Japan. On the other hand, for me the question is much more, would there be actually enough visitors showing up at the casinos for gambling? 43% of the respondents in favor of a casino are looking for a place with attraction and shows, which is for me not directly related to gambling. Otherwise 30% desire a luxurious version of a casino. Potentially Japanese casinos might become more a place like a Disney styled entertainment park, where on the side gambling could take place.

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)

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