On Thursday, GGRAsia reported that the Office of Integrated Resort Regime Promotion – a panel of civil servants advising the government on the drafting of the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill – has recommended a prohibition on junkets ferrying high-volume gamblers to Japan’s as-yet unbuilt casinos.
The report offered no specifics on the justification for the civil servants’ anti-junket recommendation, although questions regarding junkets’ financial operations – the issuing of credit and collection of gambling debts, in particular – were said to have been raised.
Singapore’s casino regulatory regime has often been cited as a model Japan would like to emulate, so if Japan does opt for a blanket ban on traditional junket operations, it’s possible that it could allow Singapore-style ‘player agents’ to fill the role of middleman between casinos and gamblers.
Singapore regulators allow ‘international market agents’ to offer credit to gamblers provided these gamblers are neither Singaporean citizens nor permanent residents of the city-state. To date, only two such agent licenses have been issued, both of which are only permitted to do business at Genting Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa property.
Other recommendations for Japan’s prospective casino market include restricting credit card purchases of casino chips to international gamblers only, banning ATMs from casino floors and ensuring that ATMs located elsewhere on a resort property cannot offer credit withdrawals if they’re too close to the gaming floor.
Sadly, Japan’s newfound rush to embrace brick-and-mortar casinos doesn’t extend to other gambling verticals, as the panel turned thumbs down on allowing casinos to offer sports betting or online gambling on the premises. Japan currently only permits wagering on horse, boat and bicycle racing.