In Japan where many of the public disapprove of gambling as it promotes addiction and crime, Day Service Las Vegas is one day care center for the elderly that aims to keep its clientele healthy and happy via their slot machines, high-tech mahjong games and a variety of wholesome entertainment.
Most of us would think a day care center for elderly seniors usually looks like a simple venue with facilities (TV, puzzle games, board games, books) designed to make their elderly lives easier. However, nobody would think that the Las Vegas Adachi in Japan, a day care center for the elderly, is actually designed to be a casino!
Las Vegas Adachi combines senior care with casino-style games, and it has proven to be a winning formula. At this casino, the common patron is the elderly.
Las Vegas Adachi CEO Kaoru Mori said his inspiration to set up this unique center came from a trip to an actual casino at the MGM Grand casino in Las Vegas. Mori, a former salesman, said he was astonished to notice a huge number of elderly patrons in there, "They were placing small bets - only $10 or $15. But they were all dressed up for their day out and clearly having fun."
This experience gave him the motivation to set up a casino-themed day care center back at his home country in 2014, "The ageing of the population is a central problem confronting Japan, where around 6.22 million people need care. When people get old, they stop going out as much. That's why I opened ‘Day Service Las Vegas'. I want to create a place that gives the elderly person a reason to go out."
It seriously is a bold decision at that time in 2014 because gambling in Japan is seen in a negative light. Casinos have been only legalized in 2016.
The clients of this casino are picked up by black limos. The casino staff are sharply dressed and facilities are state of the art, such as their automatically-shuffling mahjong tables. The cost for 1 day in this casino is 8,000 yen ($100), but 90% of that amount is already shouldered by Japan's long-term care insurance system.
Exercise for Incentives
The services and games provided by this casino-themed day care are part of a system designed to encourage the elderly patrons to remain fit mentally and physically.
No real money is actually used in the center. Each day before patrons can start playing, they are required to have their vitals checked (blood pressure and temperature), and must perform stretching exercises to earn 10,000 gaming credits called ‘Vegas'.
Las Vegas Adachi manager Mayu Ichikawa said, "Many elderly people don't like doing exercises, so this is a good way to get them to take part."
The elderly clientele can make use of their ‘Vegas' to play entertaining table games such as poker, blackjack, mahjong and pachinko (jackpot).
Other than that, clients can also avail massage services, watch movies, play with brain-training games, read books, paint, and sing karaoke. These facilities at the center aid in stimulating brain function and improve math skills, situational judgement, and memory.
The games are neatly spread out with 5- to 20-minute exercise routines throughout the day. The center also provides a 45-minute rehab service session to help train their clients' muscles.
The Adachi Las Vegas is just one of the 16 outlets of Day Service Las Vegas serving almost 700 clients across Japan. Even Mr. Mori's own 93-year-old mom is a regular client.
Despite its success, certain problems are just waiting to rear their ugly heads. One, for instance, is that as long as Japan's long-term care insurance system is paying for 90% of its $100-a-day charges, then many of the seniors can still afford them.
Though no actual money is involved, some worry that such centers might fuel gambling addiction, but Mori remains positive, "I believe that deep down, people want to believe that they are young at heart. So we make sure that they always feel young; be careful not to hurt their pride and help them live longer by making them happy.
Here we don't treat the elderly like children who need care, but as adults who need to be engaged and energized... I believe that people will live longer if they feel happy every day, and we put this principle into practice here."