Japan formally establishes Casino Administration Committee

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The Japanese government established the Casino Administration Committee on Tuesday as an external department to the cabinet to manage and supervise the nation’s IR operators. In addition to granting the licenses necessary for casino operation, it will also handle measures for problem gambling and money laundering.

The Casino Administration Committee is composed of a Chairman – former Fukuoka High Prosecutor’s Attorney General Michio Katamura – and four other members.

Former member of Nagoya National Taxation Bureau, Hiroyuki Ujikane, and psychiatrist Michiko Watari are committee members. The inaugural meeting will be held 10 January.

The Committee will have strong independent powers in the same way as the Fair Trade Commission and the National Public Safety Commission. In addition to granting licenses for casino business, it also has the authority to revoke them. It will perform background checks, investigate the relationship between operators and anti-social forces including organized crime and the criminal records of officers, and overseas accounts.

The government will formulate a fundamental policy, setting out criteria for IR facilities, in January, incorporating the opinions of the Casino Administration Committee. Applications from local governments and operators will be accepted between January 2021 and July 2021, and up to three locations will be certified. These facilities are expected to open around the midpoint of the decade.

Currently Yokohama city, Osaka city/prefecture, Wakayama prefecture and Nagasaki prefecture have announced their intention to make a bid. Both Hokkaido and Chiba have withdrawn.

Amidst a corruption scandal, Ryota Takeda, Minister of Public Affairs and Reform in charge of IRs, commented, “I want to operate a fair, impartial and independent organization that gains the trust of the citizens.”