A JPY300,000 lockup (US$2,750) limit to be applied to all gaming machines and voucher kiosks on Japan’s casino floors could prove a deterrent for local high limit players, according to Bay City Ventures Managing Director Joji Kokuryo.
The lockup limit, detailed in draft casino regulations published by the Japan Casino Regulatory Commission (JCRC) on 2 April, appears to be modeled on the lockup limit applicable in Nevada where any wins of $1,200 or above require hand pays for tax purposes.
However, Kokuryo told Inside Asian Gaming that Japan’s US$3,000 limit seems to be an “odd” amount given it is likely too high to impact most mass market players but quite low for high-limit or VIP slots.
“One thing is for sure, this is not a positive in terms of higher denomination slot play for Japanese players with the looming sense of ‘tracking and taxation’ providing another reason to play abroad,” he said.
“This standard also explains why vouchers are not allowed to be passed on from one person to another, as splitting multiple vouchers between different people would be a loophole in the system.”
The JPY300,000 limit, which also applies to the amount of credit that can be deposited into any single gaming machine at any one time, does make sense when compared with other Japanese gambling pursuits such as pachinko and pachislot, horse racing, boat racing, cycle racing and auto racing where winnings of over JPY500,000 (US$4,600) in a calendar year must be reported as temporary income.
As previously reported by IAG, the draft regulations show a clear similarity to Nevada’s licensing laws in everything from slot machine requirements to procedures around excluding organized crime.
There is still some clarity around many issues needed, however, including some international taxation rules.
“While foreign visitors will not be applicable to Japanese taxes on casino winnings, it is still not clear if the responsibility to pay their own local tax will be up to the foreign patron or if there will be any intervention from the operator or Japan side,” Kokuryo said.
“In such cases, the international status of double taxation between Japan and the country of the patron’s citizenship will be the most important factor.”
Japan has previously revealed that the tax rate charged to operators on gross gaming revenues will be set at 30%.