Casino entry fee remains a point of contention

Japan’s proposed anti-addiction measures are viewed as generally “well-balanced,” though a lowering of the casino entry fee should be considered, said experts at the Japan Gaming Congress on Friday.

“We believe [the currently proposed measures] to be well balanced… but some [responsible gaming measures], such as the entry fee, may have gone further than expected, said Jonathan Strock, director of casino management of the Barriere Group.

Despite this, Strock said the French casino company will be looking “very closely” at applying when the opportunity for tender comes along.

Tom Soukup, senior VP and chief systems product officer of Konami, said he would like to see operators linking their problem gambling measures with their casino management systems.

Taking a few examples from other casino jurisdictions, Soukup suggested that problem gambling measures could include self exclusion player management systems, cool-down periods and money/time loss systems such as those that can be witnessed Canada and Australia.

In France and Switzerland, resorts require individuals to enter a legally binding contractual agreement regarding the amount of times they may visit in a month, and the duration of their stay, he added.

Masa Suganuma of ReNeA Japan agreed that a lowering of the entry fee should be considered, noting that the currently proposed fee of 6,000 yen is only a thousand shy of the cost of admission to Tokyo’s Disneyland Resort.

However, Suganuma said rather than letting gaming be perceived as the only way to gain value for the price of their entry fee, that operators should be providing more value to their customers.

Kazuaki Sasaki, associate professor at Toyo University argued that it doesn’t what the entry fee ends up being.

“What we need is more independent insight for gamblers to help them better understand problem gambling, not more regulation.”

Sasaki said courses should be provided to educate gamblers on how gambling games are designed, and to reinforce the idea that gambling should only ever be seen as entertainment, not for making money.

Sasaki said that before the Casino Control Commission is set up next year, that more discussions need to be had around how casino technology can be used to reduce harm.