« 環境相の発言―「最後は金」が蝕むもの | トップページ | 教育委員会改革 首長と二人三脚で課題克服を »

2014年6月20日 (金)

カジノ解禁法案 娯楽の「負の側面」も勘案せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Legislators must consider possible negative effects of casino resorts
カジノ解禁法案 娯楽の「負の側面」も勘案せよ

Legislators should give careful consideration not only to the effect of revitalizing the economy but also to various adverse impacts on society as a whole.

The Cabinet Committee of the House of Representatives on Wednesday began deliberation of a bill to legalize casino resorts. The bill was submitted in December last year by the Liberal Democratic Party, Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) and the People’s Life Party.

While the three parties hope the bill becomes law within the year, cautious views remain strong among New Komeito, the Democratic Party of Japan and other parties. Prospects for the bill’s passage look uncertain.

The bill is designed to legalize casinos, presently illegal as gambling under the Criminal Code, and to promote the development of so-called integrated resorts combining casinos with hotels, convention centers, and amusement and commercial facilities.

According to the bill, the government will establish a headquarters to promote the development of the integrated resorts, while relevant laws will be enacted within one year following the enforcement of the casino legalization law.

The relevant legislation is to be implemented through a two-step process: The lawmaker-initiated legislation aims only to establish its framework; and the government is tasked with drawing up its detailed institutional design.

The suprapartisan group of legislators that compiled the casino legalization bill asserts development of integrated resorts will pave the way for the revitalization of local economies, tourism promotion, job creation and tax revenue growth.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is also positive about the development of integrated resorts, saying, “Although there are some problems to deal with, it also has sufficient merits.” He toured integrated resorts during his recent visit to Singapore. The growth strategy, to be compiled late this month, is expected to call for a study on the development of integrated resorts.

Look at pros, cons

Those in economic circles expect synergistic effects with the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics slated for 2020. Meanwhile, local governments including those of Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido and Okinawa have also launched campaigns to invite integrated resorts.

Attracting more visitors with casinos may indeed generate certain positive effects of increased foreign tourist numbers and stimulated local economies.

But it is necessary to clearly recognize that casinos have a number of “negative aspects.”

To prevent casinos from becoming hotbeds of crime, it is essential to take measures to thoroughly exclude criminal organizations from casinos and prevent money laundering.

There are also concerns over various ill effects on young and elderly people.

In connection with casinos overseas, including those in Singapore, South Korea and China’s special administrative region of Macao, the increasing number of people with gambling habits has become a social problem. These countries have taken such measures as limiting the admission of their own citizens, collecting admission fees and offering counseling to those with gambling addictions. But these measures have yet to effectively solve the problems.

In Japan, many people already have become heavily indebted through involvement in publicly run forms of gambling, such as horse and bicycle racing, or privately operated pachinko games.

Statistics show that the percentage of people with gambling addictions is higher in Japan than in other countries. Will casinos further fuel such a tendency?

It is necessary to take into account the enormous social costs involved in the implementation of measures to cope with such gambling dependence.

Meanwhile, it can hardly be said that public understanding of casinos has deepened.

If legislators aim to lift the ban on casinos in earnest, they must examine the various real-world problems and challenges related to casinos being encountered overseas and properly deliberate relevant matters at the Diet. Hasty enactment of the bill must be avoided.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 19, 2014)


« 環境相の発言―「最後は金」が蝕むもの | トップページ | 教育委員会改革 首長と二人三脚で課題克服を »





« 環境相の発言―「最後は金」が蝕むもの | トップページ | 教育委員会改革 首長と二人三脚で課題克服を »