The first official authoritative order in Japan to promote the Government’s efforts to tackle problem gambling was given the green light in October 2022 by the Osaka Prefectural Assembly and then came into effect in November 2022.
The ordinance includes calls for the implementation of steps reflecting the opinions of both gambling addicts and mental health experts, as well as the enhancement of educational campaigns aimed at preventing young people from getting affected by gambling-related harm.
The Prefectural Government of Osaka, which is moving forward with plans to develop an integrated casino resort (IR), is aimed at becoming a front-runner in the national Government’s fight against problem gambling. However, there have been doubts about the viability of the authoritative order due to a lack of clear prospects that would make sure the necessary financial resources are secured for the measures sought in the legislation.
For the time being, there is a large number of facilities for public competitive events in Japan that are considered recreational activities under the provisions of the law.
As revealed by a national epidemiological survey on problem gambling that was published by Japan’s Central Government in 2017, approximately 0.8% of the adult population, or about 700,000 people, had faced conditions that may have been associated with gambling addiction over the 12 months prior to the research. Then, another survey that was held in fiscal 2020 by the Osaka Prefectural Government found that about 98,000 Prefecture residents were categorized as problem gamblers.
Reportedly, the Central Government of the country did not take the necessary full-scale measures to tackle problem gambling and gambling-related harm until it started working on legislation regarding integrated casino resorts. Under the basic law on measures that sought to prevent gambling addiction, which was officially brought into action in 2018 along with the integrated casino resorts implementation law, some Japanese prefectures have come up with plans to proceed with some countermeasures.
Local Governments in Japan Face Financial Difficulties to Implement Gambling Addiction Protection Measures
As revealed by one Osaka Government official, unfortunately, local Governments across Japan are lacking enough financial resources to implement the necessary measures to prevent problem gambling because there are other addictions that also need to be taken care of.
The ordinance aimed at tackling problem gambling and gambling-related harm was proposed by a regional political party called Osaka Ishin no Kai, which currently holds the biggest number of chairs in the Osaka Prefectural Assembly. The party is aimed at helping problem gamblers in the Prefecture receive professional help and treatment and reintegrate into local society.
A piece of legislation calls for the competent authorities to establish a special promotion council that would work to incorporate expertise and feedback from people suffering from gambling addiction. Apart from that, experts believe that greater efforts are needed to prevent the increase in problem gambling rates among young people.
The Government of the Prefecture of Osaka plans to set up a fund aimed at collecting donations primarily from local businesses, with the money gathered set to be used to fund various support groups for problem gamblers. To encourage voluntary contributions, the authorities plan to use a corporate version of the local donation system allowing tax deduction in such cases. For the time being, it remains unclear how much money will be collected as a result of donations.