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Ruling Coalition agrees on casino entry fee

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito have agreed on casino entry fees of JPY6,000 (US$57), which are set to come into effect come mid-2020, as the shape of casino legislation becomes clear.

The government had originally proposed in February a much lower JPY 2,000 entry fee, but Komeito and a handful of LDP lawmakers reacted sharply against this notion, arguing that the fees should be comparable to Singapore’s higher entry fees.

After weeks of back-and-forth, the 6,000 yen level was agreed upon, closer to the Komeito position than the mainstream LDP position.

The advance coordination of the ruling coalition on these matters makes it far more likely that the IR Implementation Bill will be passed in the current Diet session, scheduled to end on June 20.

Over the Easter weekend, the parties reached agreement on a series of key elements pertinent to the bill, all of which had been eagerly awaited by international investors.

In the initial round, the government will limit the number of IR licenses to a maximum of three, with this limit to be revised after seven years.

The tax rate for the operators was set at 30 percent, while the legislation stipulates the installation area for casino equipment will be 3 percent or less of the total floor area of the IR.

As well as the entry fees there will be restrictions on the number of times local Japanese can visit casinos. The number is three times in 7 days, or 10 times in 28 days. Confirmation of entry frequency will be ascertained through an ID card, known as a “My Number” card.

The fees and entry restrictions will only apply to Japanese residents and not to foreign visitors.  

The legislation also calls for the establishment of a strong independent casino management committee.

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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