Japan to ban VIP junket operators to protect its nascent casino industry

  • Japan advisory board for the casino industry proposes a ban on VIP junket operators
  • The country can fill its casinos and meet financial targets without outside help and all the potential issues it brings

After decades of stagnation and failed attempts at legislation, Japan is finally starting to develop its own casino industry. These movements are bound to have a positive impact on the country’s economy.

japan set to ban VIP junkets

However, the Japanese government is also concerned about adverse effects of the industry and potentially criminal activities connected with the casinos. In that light, the advisory board that supervises and gives proposals for the development of the casino industry in Japan has suggested that VIP junket operators shouldn’t be allowed to operate in the country.

Role of junket operators

Junket operators have been one of the standard features in the gambling world of the Asian region, especially in places such as Macau, the gambling hub of Asia. Among other things, these VIP junket operators bring in high rollers to the local casinos and provide them with different services intended to make them happy and continue gambling for as long as possible.

The advisory board presented Diet (Japanese parliament) with their concerns about the activities of VIP junket operators, cautioning the lawmakers that they often provide services that are borderline or straight-up illegal, such as laundering money acquired through various criminal activities.

Thus, the board is of the opinion that these VIP services that offer transportation, accommodation, and other perks for the high rollers shouldn’t be allowed in the country. They proposed this clause to be entered in the developing gambling bill, legally preventing junket operators from establishing their operations in the country.

Weak public support for the industry

Although Japan has finally managed to move on to the next phase of the development, there is no strong support for the casinos among ordinary Japanese. Currently, two casino resorts are being planned, one in Tokyo and the other in Yokohama or Osaka. However, a majority of people in Japan still don’t like the idea of commercial gambling.

Last year, a poll conducted in the country showed that just 12 percent of Japanese were in favor of the new bill, which forced lawmakers to pay special attention to potentially harmful effects of regulated gambling.

One of the measures that are being considered is enacting costly entry fees, which would at least protect, to some degree, the poorer segment of the population from the damaging effects of casinos.

The latest proposal to ban VIP junket operators is a part of the same line of thought. There are 126 million people living in Japan, which means that the country shouldn’t need any outside help for the industry to prosper and generate expected revenues. At the same time, banning junket operators would prevent other problems that are sometimes associated with the practice, like money laundering, allowing Japan to stay in control of everything that happens inside the casinos.

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