Japan needs evidence-based problem gambling plan

Japan needs to adopt problem gambling measures that are both scientifically proven and evidence-based, said a panel at the Macao Gaming Show on Thursday.

One of the panel members, Jennifer Shatley of Logan Avenue Consulting, said there were certain measures that are being considered in Japan that are not supported by science.

Casino entry fees, which is one of the measures being considered, on some occasions have led to patrons spending longer inside casinos in order for them to “get the most out of their money,” said Shatley.

“The levies could cause them to gamble more money or longer than normal because they are trying to maximize the visit to make the entry levy worth it,” she said.

Shatley also noted a study in Canada which found that that setting time limits on machines saw patrons gambling faster and more recklessly towards the end of their session – a “gambling frenzy” of sorts.

“The effect can actually be the opposite of what is intended by their introduction which is why measures should be thoroughly tested and proven prior to adoption,” she said.

Instead, Shatley said there were a number of proven measures that should be considered, such as promoting positive play – educating the customer about keeping gambling recreational, employee training, self exclusion programs, letting people know the availability of problem gambling treatment, public messaging about gambling disorders and ensuring that policies include underage gambling prevention and the responsible service of alcohol.

“Whatever measures are adopted encourage them to be coupled with a strong research agenda to gauge effectiveness and allow for continuous improvement,” she concluded.

The session held on Thursday morning also covered gaming standards in Japan as well as the roadmap for the IR implementation bill.

Other speakers included Chris Rowe of Aristocat, Kirk White of BMM Testlabs, Mike Tanji of Gaming Capital Management, Kazuaki Sasaki of Toyo University and Masa Suganuma of ReNeA Japan.