ICE: Potential of Japanese market revealed

ICE: Potential of Japanese market revealed

Thursday, February 4, 2016 Totally Gaming

Non-cash casinos are flourishing in Japan as the country continues to debate the introduction of regulated gaming, attendees were told at an informative seminar at ICE Totally Gaming.

The country’s leading political decision-makers are looking at a long-term plan to bring so-called Integrated Resorts (IRs) into the country.

Yoshiko ‘Mimi’ Koga of JTOP said at the ExCel in London that there are 50,000 poker players already active in Japan, competing in tournaments operated by the government-approved Japan Poker Association.

“They are hungry to win at the tournaments, but there are no payouts and the Japan Poker Association is a non-profit organisation,” she said.

“Of course, due to delays in the bill being introduced, many people play at non-payout casinos and many are tempted to go to underground casinos.

“Hopefully the government can steer towards a positive development in this regard in the future.”

Mike Tanji of Gaming Capital Management added that he is hopeful the IR bill may be passed by the end of this year.

“The reason why it’s getting delayed is the prioritisation of various policies,” he said. “It is not easy to forecast when the Cabinet might discuss the IR issue.”

He added that Yokohama, Osaka, Hokkaido and Nagasaki are among the potential destinations for IRs.

“They are all promising areas, but it will take a long time,” he said.

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