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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 13 - 19  > Opening of casino will only create hotbed of unhappiness
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2018 June 13 - 19 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Opening of casino will only create hotbed of unhappiness

June 14, 2018

Akahata ‘current’ column

“The Osaka City government boasts that it will implement enough measures against gambling addiction, but I think, the most serious gambling addict is the city government itself,” Nara Women’s University Professor Nakayama Toru said.

The Osaka mayor and Osaka governor, who are members of the Osaka “Ishin no Kai” political party, intend to set up a casino as part of the party’s “Osaka metropolis” scheme. The Ishin party seeks to do away with the legal entity of Osaka City and transfer the city’s revenues and administrative authority to an “Osaka metropolis” so that its governor will have the power to implement large-scale development projects, including an Integrated Resort (IR) project centering on a casino. Professor Nakayama criticizes the scheme, saying, “It is unforgivable to do away with Osaka City just to open a casino.”

U.S. casino operators are trying to seize business opportunities in Japan. The Ishin no Kai and the national and city governments insist that it is an “IR project”, not “casino project”. Although the casino will take up only 3% of the total IR facility area, it is expected to produce 70% of the profits. The Abe government claims that casinos will be operated under the world’s strictest regulations, but that is not true.

Under the government-proposed regulations, a visitor would not be allowed to stay in the casino resort for more than three days a week. This means that a customer at the facility can gamble for up to 72 hours a week, as the casino operates 24/7. To gamble more than ten hours per day in, for example, a pachinko pinball parlor seems highly problematic.

The government proposes to set the casino entrance fee at 6,000 yen, cheaper than Tokyo Disneyland or Universal Studios Japan. The fee is inexpensive as casinos would offer free-drink and free-food services. People who lose money in gambling may become desperate and bet even more money on games to recover the loss. Surprisingly, Osaka’s casino operator would provide loans to such desperate customers.

The more customers are impoverished, the more casino operators flourish. It is unbelievable that the promotion of IR is part of the Abe government’s economic growth strategy. It is estimated that around 3.2 million people in Japan have symptoms of gambling addiction. A daughter of a pathological gambler said that her family fell apart due to debts and that she has no prospects for the future. It is unethical and irresponsible to create a hotbed of unhappiness by lifting the ban on casino gambling.

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