The government of Japan has proposed to set a casino entry levy of JPY2,000 (approx. US$19) for 24-hour access for the country's nationals and residents, one element that is to be included in the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Bill.
The government is hoping to attract more foreign tourists to Japan with casinos by giving them free admission; however, they want to apply cautionary measures on gambling addiction as well as trying to limit the presence of their Japan residents (regardless of nationality) in casinos by planning to charge each person a 2,000 yen admission fee.
On Wednesday morning, the proposal was discussed in a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) team's meeting who is in charge of drafting and guiding through parliament the necessary legislation to launching a casino industry in Japan's soil. Before being submitted to the Japanese parliament, the proposal has to be approved first by the ruling coalition, which is comprised of the LDP and its partner Komeito.
That Wednesday was actually the second conference meeting of this year held by the LDP group responsible for pushing the casino legislation forward to modern standards. It mainly focused on issues related to taxation and the future casino regulatory body.
One of the items proposed by the Japanese government was a daily entry levy of JPY2,000 for each person, for the Japanese nationals and foreigners living in Japan. The government also plans to forbid the country's casino resorts from reimbursing the levy fees to its players.
The money to be collected from the entry levy policy shall then be divided between the central and the local government of the region that hosts a casino resort. A portion of the funds will be used to finance measures for the prevention of gambling addiction.
Also, the government proposed two options concerning taxes on casino gross gaming revenue (GGR). The first was the introduction of a fixed tax rate of 30% on casino GGR. Second would be to implement a "progressive tax" system, starting with 30% on GGR of up to JPY150 billion; 40% for gaming revenue between JPY150 billion and JPY300 billion; and 50% for GGR above JPY300 billion.
Next, the money collected from gaming taxes will be used to pay for various community good causes, including addressing gambling addiction and promoting the country's tourism industry. Same as the entry levy, the tax revenue would also be split between the central and local governments.
The government also plans to require operators that apply for a casino license in Japan to shoulder the costs of background checks.
In a note released this week, Banking group Morgan Stanley said that given the very long list of restrictions that are likely to be contained in the IR Implementation Bill, gaming operators could refrain from ‘investing too much' in future casino resorts in Japan.
Executive VP for global development at MGM Resorts International Ed Bowers said that too much focus on protecting players in Japan's nascent casino industry could have a negative effect on the country's economic growth objectives concerning gaming liberalization.