All in the Family: Japan Offers a New Interesting Method for Protecting Vulnerable Gamblers

Lee R. - December 27, 2017

Japan offers progressive legislation for addicted gamblers with family applications.

Japan has come up with an interesting new twist on self-protection interventions, which could have implications for other protective jurisdiction or ones beset by high levels of addiction.

Family Affair

The Japan Racing Association is introducing a new bill this week enabling families of gambling addicts to block kin from regulated online horse betting.

The applications will be submitted directly to the JRA and will be made available to family members including those living with family members clinically diagnosed with gambling disorders or suspected of struggling with its symptoms as evinced by spending habits.

Increasing Proactivity for IRs

The measure is part of a proactive approach the JRA is seeking to take on the eve of another larger bill to curb defining the structure of the first integrated resorts in the region.

Scale of Japan

With the widespread addiction problem in Japan extending to an estimated 3.2 million, effective proactivity in addiction approaches would be welcome, with an additional 0.8 percent of the population between 20 to 74 (700,000 people) further likely addicted at some point in current year alone (average age 46.5).

The Current System

Governing regulation bodies JRA and the National Association of Racing currently preside over a system which restricts online gambling for individuals who apply on their own behalf, with 14 individuals banned to this point.

Current Activity

While gambling is prohibited, certain forms of wagering are allowed in Japan, including horse racing, cycle races and "pachinko" parlours, with measures against self-reporting or family-reporting to apply to banning sales of betting tickets and refusing entry to outlets.

Implementation Curve

The new family involved measures are set to begin Thursday with suspension of addicts reported under the new system online, with further land-based measures set to be implemented at bicycle and motorbike racing next April.

Global Impact

The involvement of family measures is an idea that could make other countries more open to regulation, or empower them to more effectively adapt their outdated regulation models.

Outlook and Implications 

This legislation illustrates how some forms of more strict licensing of land-based casinos can be a good thing, where people could otherwise be barred from integrated resorts or physical casinos if concerns have been formally filed by their families. These measures could prove to be effective social interventions not just for online regulation, but for the high amount of addicts who currently frequent land-based casinos, while also serving to insulate incoming integrated resorts from perpetuating that addiction thereof. 

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