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Wakayama Prefecture Governor open to easing “foreigner-only” IR policy

Wednesday, 13 December 2017 05:36
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The Governor of Japan’s Wakayama Prefecture has indicated that he may be willing to shift his previously stated “foreigner-only” stance for any casinos built within his jurisdiction if responsible gaming regulations are “effective and accepted by Japanese citizens.”

Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka’s comments came during a discussion with Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which included questioning as to his announcements that he would only accept foreign visitors to any future development.

During the routine Prefectural Council meeting, Governor Nisaka was asked specifically if he would consider shifting his policy in the future. He responded that his statement was made with regards to “protecting Japanese citizens from the ill-effects of gambling addiction.”

However, he also noted that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has since confirmed that any IR development will have to follow stringent rules and establish tightly controlled regulations in regards to problem gaming issues.

As a result, Governor Nisaka added that although he still believes in his “foreigner-only” policy, “there may be reasons to shift” should responsible gaming regulations prove sufficient and effective.

The LDP reintroduced a gambling addiction bill to the House of Representatives earlier this month, setting out various measures aimed at combating gambling addiction including treatment and rehabilitation programs

The government had stated its intent to push the bill through parliament quickly but it is unlikely it will be approved before 2018 with a number of amendments still expected.

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