IR advocates argue polls biased and misleading

    The latest newspaper public opinion poll holds more bad news for IR advocates, but some observers suggest that the polls don’t mean what they appear to mean.

    The Asahi Shimbun asked respondents the following question: “The government aims to enact in the current Diet session rules on entry fees and other matters for casinos, where gambling will be permitted. With the enactment of this bill, casinos will actually be established within the nation. Do you believe that this bill should be enacted in this Diet session, or do you believe that it is not necessary?”

    The results came back with 22 percent of the respondents favoring the enactment of the bill in the current Diet session and 71 percent saying that it wasn’t necessary, with 7 percent unsure.

    Some IR advocates have been growing increasingly vocal about their discontent over such newspaper polls, which they believe are deliberately slanted against them.

    On Monday, the Casino IR Japan website, for example, took issue with this latest Asahi Shimbun poll, as they have done in the past.

    First of all, they argue that telephone polls are structurally biased because the respondents will be disproportionately female and elderly, two demographics that have been shown to be more intense in their opposition to casino legalization.

    One of the key struggles is a basic one over terminology. Opponents routinely use the term “casino,” imagining giant gambling dens to be the entirety of what is to be constructed. On the other hand, proponents emphasize the term “integrated resort,” sometimes downplaying the casino element to the point that it seems hardly worth mentioning among all of the entertainment options that will be made available to Japanese guests.

    At any rate, less contestable is that almost every newspaper in Japan has either editorialized against casino legalization, or else maintained a great deal of skepticism toward the whole project.

    At the national level, neither the Abe government nor the ruling party has yet to make any serious attempt to persuade the public about the advantages of IRs, relying instead on simply pushing the legislation through via the large number of seats that they hold in the Diet.