Japan’s Casino Regulator Bringing New Rules to the IR Space

Posted on: January 20, 2022, 08:45h. 

Last updated on: January 20, 2022, 01:38h.

Local governments in Japan and their integrated resort (IR) partners will soon submit their final proposals to the National Diet. Ahead of the deadline, the country’s Casino Regulatory Commission (CRC) has published several regulatory updates.

National Diet Building
Japan’s National Diet Building in Tokyo. Here, the CRC is preparing the final leg in the preparation of IR regulations. (Image: Inside Asian Gaming)

The regulatory agency first gave an idea of what would be coming in April of last year. At that time, it suggested that baccarat (2 types), blackjack (4 types), poker (8 types), roulette, Sic Bo, craps, Casino War, money wheel, and pai gow would be permitted. The IRs can host the games like table games, electronic gaming tables (EGT), or both.

By April 28, those local governments in Japan – namely, Nagasaki, Osaka, and Wakayama – will have to submit their IR proposals for review. There is undoubtedly still a lot of work to be done between now and then. The CRC posted new information on its website last week that should help IR planners have a clearer idea of some of their responsibilities.

The IRs will give up 15% of their gross gaming revenue (GGR) on those options to the Japanese national government. Another 15% will go to the CRC and the local prefecture hosting the resort. The CRC will be responsible for regulating and managing all IR gambling tax payments.

Strict Controls to be In Place

Updates on the CRC’s website provide better insight into the different types of management that will arrive. The site breaks down its regulatory responsibilities into four categories – Concept/Approach to Casino Regulations, Overview of Casino Regulations, Summary of Casino Regulations and Measures against Adverse Effects, and Main Laws Concerning Casino Regulations.

Notably, the CRC is going to closely monitor every aspect of the gambling supply chain. Transactions, equipment manufacturers, landowners where IRs are located, casino operators, and their employees and even stockholders will be under constant scrutiny.

The CRC explains that, per Japan’s IR Development Act, the regulator is responsible for developing “foolproof measures regarding casinos in order to achieve sound casino operations and ease concerns.” As such, its mission is to “achieve attractive, long-stay tourism that is competitive on an international scale.”

Taking a few cues from other jurisdictions, gambling addiction and advertising will be heavily regulated. Strict controls over financial movements are included in an effort to minimize any money-laundering risk. Transferring casino chips to another gambler or taking chips out of the casino will be prohibited.

IR Proponents Try to Keep Energy Up

When Japan finally approved IR laws in 2018, there was a substantial amount of global interest in being a part of the industry. Operators scrambled to set up offices in the country and impress local governments.

Since then, the general sentiment has changed profoundly. Casino operators have walked away and several prefectures once interested in hosting an IR have dropped out. Others are teetering on the edge.

Only three months remain until the local governments present their IR plans for review. The CRC and the local governments still in the race are diligently trying to keep interest from waning further. There’s virtually no chance of Japan scrapping its IR plans. However, it still needs local support for the project to be successful.