Legalized gambling likely to hit young adults the hardest


On Tuesday, the Diet's House of Representatives will vote on an LDP-backed bill that proposes to legalize casino gambling in Japan. If it passes, the bill is likely to be rubber-stamped by the House of Councillors and soon become the law of the land.

Once that happens, how long will it take, Nikkan Gendai (Dec 6) wonders, before we see the emergence of "casino homeless"?

"Overseas, gambling addiction has become a serious social problem," explains a source who is familiar with casinos. "In South Korea in 2000, the Kangwon Land casino that was previously only open to foreign visitors was also opened to locals. In the area adjacent to the resort, now pawnshops can be seen all over the place, and several hundred people who had lost everything they had to gambling are said to be living on the streets.

"Four years ago the Macao government moved to raise the minimum age restriction at its casinos from 18 to 21, and casinos in other places have been cracking down as well," he added.

The main concern is that young adults, who have yet to develop an "immunity" to gambling, will be most vulnerable. A research group operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare believes some 5.36 million Japanese have shown susceptibility to gambling addition, and of these some 1.88 million -- roughly 40% -- are in their 20s and 30s.

Which is why concerns have arisen that following the opening of casinos, the numbers of penniless "young homeless" will surge.

"I think the increase in homelessness among young adults is tied to the severe conditions at their workplace, particularly the lack of regular employment," says nonfiction writer Atsuhiko Nakamura. "Many are temp-help staff who can be dropped on short notice by the client, and they are also frequently subjected to power harassment. I've seen many who turned to gambling to relive their stress. And some are hopelessly addicted. Should casinos be legalized and become more accessible, I'll be concerned that more young people will become impoverished as a result of their presence."

The Abe government has trumpeted its efforts at holding down unemployment, but during 2014 for instance, in the age 15 to 24 year-old segment, the ratio of irregular workers to the total number of salaried workers was 30.8%; the figure fell only marginally -- to 28.0% -- for workers in the age 25 to 34-year-old segment.

Following the "Lehman Shock" of 2008, five self-reliance support centers operating in metropolitan Tokyo saw a rapid surge in individuals age 30 and under seeking assistance; about one in four was said to be in the younger age segment. Moreover the number of welfare recipients in their 20s and 30s has roughly tripled over the past 15 years.

Along with elderly pensioners losing their hard-earned nest egg at the roulette and blackjack tables, Nikkan Gendai warns that legalization of casinos is likely to see a rapid increase in homelessness among the younger set.

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I really hope the bill fails to pass. Casinos are a plague on society.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

“Overseas, gambling addiction has become a serious social problem,” ... “In South Korea in 2000, the Kangwon Land casino that was previously only open to foreign visitors was also opened to locals. In the area adjacent to the resort, now pawnshops can be seen all over the place, and several hundred people who had lost everything they had to gambling are said to be living on the streets."

It seems odd to me that this article makes no mention of pachinko, which arguably is effectively legal in Japan given its ubiquity and even police involvement. There are already plenty of young adults in Japan addicted to pachinko gambling, and "pawnshops can be seen all over the place" in many areas of Japan adjacent to pachinko parlors.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

There's many pros and cons for having casinos. It will provide a huge boost to the economy, ( not least from Chinese tourists ) but will also contribute to gambling addiction and other problems. The question is whether people should be given this choice or be protected from the above mentioned by the government. Also the operators of the proposed casinos need to be given due consideration.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The decision making part of the brain in the frontal lobe is not developed yet. That is the main problem.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This is all a new venture for Japan Inc, who needs another way to make money in the domestic economy. Since fewer and fewer people are buying their products (which is not usual, considering that Japanese products sold in Japan cost more than those sold in other countries). Gambling is a great way to make money, because you don't need to provide any real products or services. All you do is build some large and tacky buildings, fill them with games which are designed to rake in huge amounts of money, and pay an occasional pittance to a lucky winner.

pawnshops can be seen all over the place,

Ever been to Las Vegas? Few (if any) cities have more pawnshops. Relative to population, Las Vegas also enjoys nearly the highest rate of homelessness. Much of what the homeless collect by panhandling is fed into slot machines.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

There are already plenty of young adults in Japan addicted to pachinko gambling,

Exactly. And addicts to keba. And to mah jong. And to poker (with high bets and debts to yakuza in clandestine circles you can find just in every town and enter super easily). But that won't help them quitting the bad habit.

Gambling is a great way to make money

Ask Donald Trump how much he's lost in Atlantic City. Many casino resorts over the world are in red.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The only immunity to gambling is not to gamble, All ages are affected and its more older and retired people that get hit the worse. Look at the USA statistics and its not young people as they like money too much to give to casino's. Gambling is a form of entertainment, only the casino's get rich. A must understanding is that you should only gamble what you can afford to lose. Also set a rule on winnings that if your ahead 10000 yen or more go home. But set a max loss like 10000 yen. You will not get rich and will have winning streaks but many more losing streaks. Been There and done that!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Casinos do not create any wealth, unless you count money taken from overseas tourists. They will not benefit the economy at all. Some problems can be alleviated by charging a Y10000 entrance fee to Japanese, but making it free for non-Japanese. I'm sure the LDP weasels behind the plans would be against that as the whole idea is to gain money for themselves off of the backs of the Japanese people.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So what they're saying is that Casino style gambling is much more addictive than Pachinko?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese electorate, are you paying attention to what is going on here??

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A bad idea overall. Comparisons to Las Vegas are comparisons to a best case situation. There was no Las Vegas to speak of until the casinos opened, and the city grew around that. Atlantic City would be a more instructive case study.

Gambling is a highly regressive tax on the poor and lower middle class, people who can least afford to lose money. Aside from often being desperate for money, many poor people lack the judgement and discipline to stay away from casinos for a quick fix. I was poor myself, and once tried to cover my rent by taking a trip to a casino, where I cashed a check for money to gamble with. Didn't turn out well. But it did teach me a lesson, to stop looking for that big score or easy score to solve all my money woes. To stop dreaming and start planning.

People who spend their days gambling waste all of the brain power and dreaming on a fantasy of getting lucky. That time and money could be used to build a life rather than to destroy a life.

Gambling is one of the most destructive addictions.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Since there is potential for very substantial riches in brown envelopes for the LDP oyaji crooks , all the social ill effect concerns will be brushed aside with a standard " Govt will diligently work out appropriate measures to counter gambling addictions " soundbite BS and the bill will be enacted. Nothing can stand in the way of the crooked politicians and their cake while LDP coalition holds majority in both houses.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Gambling is just not that exciting and the crime that comes along with it just isn't worth the trouble. Japan is better off sticking to watching millions of little metal balls falling and enjoying the associated bells and whistles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Young adults are the most naive, and filled with hormones that make them want to do exciting things like win big at gambling, which very very few people actually do.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Total rubbish Casino cut Yakuza under ground gambling creates young people job activate tourism cut national debts whoever may have negative effect by temptation of gambling who already have problems. Casino legalisation is proof "Japan is finally grown up civility

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Didn't someone once say that lotteries are a tax on people who are bad at math!

No doubt it's much the same with casinos.

The other problem is when they are open 24 hours a day, you've had one too many drinks and feel lucky.....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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