AGS | Chinese gaming operators could face challenges obtaining a future Japanese IR license – Japanese attorney

Macau (MNA) – Japanese attorney and legal expert, Hayato Terai, told Macau News Agency (MNA) Chinese related gaming operators could have troubles obtaining a license to develop a future gaming operator in Japan but that Chinese gamblers will not face restrictions.

“Japan is very conservative so for [Chinese linked gaming operators] to come in it might take a while but for individual Chinese gamblers I think they will be welcomed. If they say Japanese can only gamble under special restrictions the only people we could see coming in would be from the outside, Chinese or American,” Mr. Hayato told MNA.

The comments were made on the sidelines of the Asia Gaming Summit Taiwan held in Taipei, Taiwan between November 6 and 8, and where Mr. Hayato was a speaker.

Legislators in Japan’s lower house passed an integrated resort (IR) implementation bill in July of this year, opening the wait for future lan-based casinos in the country, but with several restrictions having also been proposed for local gamblers as a way to prevent a feared increase in gambling addiction issues.

Such restrictions would include casino areas not able to exceed 3 per cent of an IR total gross floor area and a 6,000 yen (US$55) entry tax for residents, while only three IR licenses would be granted in three different areas, with Tokyo and Osaka seen as possible destinations.

Despite some possible opposition to Chinese connected gaming companies entering the future gaming market in Japan, the Japanese attorney believes the expertise in running casino resorts gathered by Macau operators could place them in an advantageous position to run for a license.

“The largest problem is nobody has ran a large casino in Japan […] we have no expertise so in that case people coming from Macau have been running land-based casinos forever. Bringing them here would be the easy way to do it but Japan is complicated,” Hayato indicated.

The experience of local gaming operators would also give them an advantage over Japan’s Pachinko companies, which run the country’s pinball machine style gambling tolerated by local authorities.

“Some of the largest pachinko companies are thinking of doing it [operate an integrated resort] but i don’t think its that easy. It’s not just about gambling. You have to create an entire quality resort an only if you have you will be able to bring a lot of people from outside Japan,” he added.

Mr. Hayato also told MNA that although Japanese held conservative views over gambling, several form of gambling have existed in Japan for many years aside Pachinko, such as state-run horse, boat and bicycle racing.

“It’s funny how Japanese have such a bad image of gambling because in Japan it’s actually everywhere [these types gambling] have been there forever and will be there for a very long time in the future,” he added.

The attorney also indicated Japanese politicians are open to go and study what is being done in other jurisdictions in terms of gambling regulation, be it for land-based casinos, online gaming or even blockchain technology.

Mr. Hayato is also the Co-CEO at GanaEight Coin, a blockchain company launched by European based online gaming company Ganapati Group and based in Malta, a country said to have the most progressive blockchain regulations internationally.

“As lawyer we want to see an industry that is well regulated and operated. For instance for blockchain tokens there is no rules to do it in Japan, that’s why we’re not doing it there […]. I know some Japanese parliament members have gone to Malta to see how they are operating,” he stated.

*Reporting from Taiwan