20 February 2018

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09/02/2017 JAPAN

Tokyo, 900,000 gamblers addicted to pachinko. But the government wants to legalize the casinos

University study denounces real situation. Rehabilitation to overcome addiction. The first casino could be opened by 2023.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - There are at least 900,000 Japan-based gamblers addicted to "pachinko", a pinball machine similar to slot machines, according to a new study that also raises concerns about the prospect promoted by the government to legalize casinos.

The survey was conducted by some universities and support groups for gamblers. As a sample, 9,000 men and women were chosen between the ages of 18 and 79.

" There has never been any research like this in the past so we never had any data before,” said Naoyuki Nishimura, founder of the Okinawa-based Pachinko Recovery Support Network NGO.“Now we are aware of the scale of the problem we can perhaps start to draw up plans to better help people who want to stop playing. Although I am concerned what will happen when the first casinos open.”

Public opinion is divided on the legalization of casinos. The government promises to organize public hearings in communities evaluating the construction of new structures.

In one of these hearings in Osaka, participants were split between those who emphasize the economic benefits and those who fear the infiltration of organized crime and the black market. Others look fearfully at the risk of growing gambling addictions.

Tokyo, Okinawa, and Yokohama City Governments are dealing with foreign and domestic companies for the construction of integrated resorts, including casinos. The first one could be inaugurated by 2023.

See also

24/02/2010 SINGAPORE
Singapore’s new casino draws large crowds of visitors and gamblers
Gambling was banned in the city-state until recently. In the first week, 149,000 people visit the new resort. Singapore authorities hope it will revive local tourism. Hotels, luxury shops and the world’s largest oceanarium are included in the project. Revenues are expected to run in the billions.

13/04/2013 SINGAPORE
More and more Chinese gamblers do not pay their debts in Singapore
In just three years, Singapore casinos raked in almost as much as Las Vegas, but profits are threatened by high-flying Chinese gamblers who skip on paying debts, untouched by their own government back home.

29/08/2009 PHILIPPINES
Bishop against casinos: no help to economy, harms society
Bishop Lucilius Quiambao protests against the project for a giant shopping mall in Albay, south of Manila, which includes a casino. It will cost over 250 million euros and aims to attract tourists to the area. For the bishop it will "destroy the moral fiber of our community."

27/10/2012 LAOS-CHINA
Gambling, the million dollar bet for Vientiane and Chinese companies
The Laotian government encourages Beijing companies’ investment, resulting in "wild development". Frequented mostly by foreigners, casinos offer million dollar returns and fuel tourism. Crime alarm related to money laundering, drug trafficking and prostitution.

16/12/2016 14:51:00 JAPAN
Casino legalisation makes the Yakuza happy

Organised crime syndicates and gaming companies see economic opportunities in the new law adopted after 15 years of arguing.

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