Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has threatened to tighten down on online casinos, stating that they are still a “gambling crime” and that illegal company will not be tolerated.
His remarks were in response to queries from Constitutional Democratic Party councilman Issei Yamagishi, who stated that inquiries to Japan’s National Consumer Affairs Center about online casinos had climbed from 100 per year in 2014 to over 500 by 2020. According to estimates, there are more than 2 million users of internet casinos in Japan, which is notably significant given that 5.06 million bets on horse racing online, 3.29 million on keirin, and 1.17 million on boat racing.
Prime Minister Kishida said, “In the event, a portion of the act of gambling is taking place within Japan, it constitutes a gambling crime. I understand there are cases in which arrests and criminal charges have been made related to online casinos. We cannot allow illegal organizations to expand.”
Yamagishi discussed the usage of payment agents to deposit and withdraw funds, as well as gambling addiction – specifically initiatives contained in the government’s Basic Plan to address addiction.
Asked if this Basic Plan was sufficient, Kishida said, “The Basic Plan to combat gambling addiction focuses on countermeasures for addiction to be taken by operators in legal gambling. Online casinos are illegal and cracking down on illegal gambling is the entire point of the basic plan in my opinion.”
Yamagishi also questioned the government’s efforts to build Japan’s first integrated resorts, arguing that the government’s inability to eliminate illegal online casinos meant that it would be unable to avert “societal risks” posed by IRs.
“IRs are not only casinos but also MICE and tourist centers,” the Prime Minister replied. “I will work with the related ministries and agencies to crack down on [online casinos]. One important issue is understanding the flow of capital and another is countermeasures for addiction.”