Revised gambling addiction bill submitted to Diet

The ruling coalition has withdrawn its Basic Bill on Gambling Addiction Countermeasures which it had submitted last December and in its place submitted a revised bill jointly supported by the Liberal Democratic Party, Komeito Party, and the conservative opposition Japan Innovation Party.

The content of the new bill does not appear to be strikingly different from the original bill, the main difference lying in its establishment of stakeholders’ meetings that will bring together gambling addicts, casino operators, and experts into some kind of joint framework.

The new bill retains measures such as clarifying the division of responsibilities between the national and prefectural governments, the strengthening of healthcare infrastructure for gambling addicts, and a major survey to be conducted on the national state of affairs as it relates to problem gambling every three years. Also, the Chief Cabinet Secretary will become head of a to-be-established “Headquarters for the Promotion of Gambling Addiction Countermeasures.”

Gen Nakatani, the former Defense Minister who is leading the ruling party team compiling countermeasures against problem gambling, once again urged opposition parties other than the Japan Innovation Party to support the legislation.

The left-leaning opposition parties have already jointly submitted a rival bill and they do support the enactment of legislation to combat gambling addiction, but they also fear that moving quickly on passage of this legislation is intended by the ruling party merely as a step to clear the decks for passage of the IR Implementation Bill in the current Diet session, which they strongly oppose.