Wakayama governor hints at dropping foreigner-only policy

    A second indication has emerged that Wakayama’s IR advocates are now moving away from their notion that casino entry might be limited to foreigners.

    This time the indication comes directly from Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka, the man who had originally proposed foreigner-only casinos as a key measure to disarm local community concerns about the effects of gambling addiction.

    In oblique comments before the Wakayama Prefectural Assembly on December 8, Governor Nisaka hinted that if national gambling anti-addiction measures were sufficiently credible, it might not prove necessary to ban Japanese nationals from entry to the casino.

    The first signs emerged in early October that pro-IR forces within Wakayama Prefecture felt that the foreigner-only casino plan might constitute “excessive regulation” that could complicate the prefecture’s bid.

    Some international operators have been outspoken in declaring that they would have no interest in investing in a Japanese IR that did not allow local residents into the casino.