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Modeled After Singapore, Japan Introduces Casino Levy

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By: Obbana Rajah

Earlier this week, Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party’s lawmakers were presented with a plan to impose an entry fee of ¥2,000 to their casinos. This fee would apply to all Japanese and foreign residents wishing to enter.

The Japan Times also reported that this fee is mainly used as a deterrent gambling as ‘pachinko’, or Japanese pinball establishments have often been known to foster addicts.

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The proposed entry fee is rather similar to the entry levy for all Singaporeans at the Marina Bay Sands casino.

While ¥2,000 (SGD 24.7) hardly compares to the SGD 100 levied for a 24-hour period, or SGD 2000 for a year-long period, the intent is the same – to prevent locals from engaging in excessive gambling or developing a habit.

Both the Singaporean and the Japanese government are of the belief that the levied fee is not completely excessive, it is believed to have sufficient effect to prevent gambling at the casino from becoming a regular activity for locals.

While Singapore’s casino entry levy only applies to locals, that of Japan applies to Japanese and non-Japanese living n the nation. Takeshi Iwaya, an LDP lawmaker and chair of the party’s policy study team on casino issues explained that both Japanese nationals and foreign residents alike will have to present their identification cards upon entry.

When it comes to tourists though, both nations offer free-of-charge entry.

Since the implementation of the casino fee in Japan is still an issue that is under discussion, the article published in the Japan Times reported that LDP lawmakers present at the meeting voiced mixed reactions to the proposed.

A valid issue brought up was that the ¥2,000 might not be significant enough an amount to make a difference in curbing gambling addiction. This was also said in reference to how pachinko has become almost a commonplace activity.

Upper House lawmaker Masamune Wada even went so far as to suggest that the
admission fee should be raised to ¥8,000 to ¥10,000 so that casinos are comparatively considered a “luxurious” form of entertainment.

In a poll, conducted in Japan last year, it was found that about 42 percent, had “no
intention of going to casinos regardless of how much the admission fee [may be].

The meeting held on Wednesday also saw the government propose a 30 percent tax
on the profits made by casino operators. This is similar to the tax Singapore levies on the winnings of casino patrons, whereby premium players are taxed 5%, and all other players are taxed 15% on their winnings.

Since both Japan and Singapore seem to run on similar tangents when it comes to their casinos, some other measures that Japan can look into are self, family or third-party exclusions where an individual is excluded from entry into a casino, or it can look into measures such as voluntary, family or third-party visit limits. These enable certain groups to highlight an individual to whose visits to the casino either be completely excluded or limited to a specific number of times.

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