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Politics

Japan enacts controversial casino gambling bill

'Integrated resort' openings will be limited to three locations initially

The new law imposes admission restrictions on Japanese casino guests, out of concerns about gambling addiction.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan's parliament on Friday passed a law that paves the way for the opening of the country's first legal casino.

The controversial bill was enacted after it was passed by the upper house, with the backing of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling coalition and the opposition Japan Innovation Party. The bill had already cleared the lower house.

Under the new law, integrated resorts, which comprise international conference halls, exhibition facilities and hotels, as well as casinos, will be opened at up to three locations in the country for the time being.

Amid concerns about gambling addiction, the new law imposes admission restrictions on Japanese casino guests. They will be allowed to enter casinos up to three days a week and 10 days a month, and charged admission of 6,000 yen ($53.4) per day.

Seven years after the location of the nation's first IR is designated, it will become possible to review the number of locations where IRs can be established.

Some local governments have already expressed a willingness to attract IRs. The locations of the resorts are expected to increase in number in the future. Opening a casino will be subject to consent from a local government hosting the facility.

"My Number" identification cards will be used to check how many times Japanese nationals as well as foreign nationals living in Japan enter casinos.

The Japanese government intends to limit the floor space of casinos to 3% of the resort's total floor space. Spaces such as aisles and eating and drinking areas will not be included in the casino's floor space. 

People under the age of 20 and gang members will be banned from entering casinos.

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