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Efforts under way to help addicts ahead of legalized casino gambling

45 Comments
By Takaki Tominaga

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Casinos are a major contributor to social problems.

12 ( +19 / -7 )

People should not be considered bad, morally weak or lacking in self control, experts say.

You mean when they gamble their rent moneyaway, leave their children in hot cars, or rob innocent people to fund their addiction?

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Create a problem for the sake of money and rush to minimize the impact...

17 ( +19 / -2 )

explore the positive and negative consequences of quitting gambling,

Negative consequences to quitting an addiction that ruins lives and families?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

According to one U.S. gambling statistic; at least 2.9% of the adult population falls under either problem gamblers or the pathological gambler category. Which is quite a high number. There are approximately 510 casinos in the USA.... so access to one would be much easier than the proposed number of 9 in Japan. However the U.S., 2.9% encompasses all gambling and not just Casino. I don't foresee Japan going through a major increase in gambling addiction with these Casinos.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

quit the casinos then you don't have to force suffering on people. Name a city without a casino and it's better off than one with

7 ( +9 / -2 )

"...quit the casinos then you don't have to force suffering on people."

Then quit the horse racing, bicycle racing and boat racing, too. There's already plenty of gambling in Japan. It's not as if the casinos will present a new threat.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Looking forward to this! I don't see why I should be denied the chance to have a flutter every now and then just because some people can't control their impulses.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Find a fix in advance a problem you're going to create... That's a pretty original way of doing things...

"I bought a new TV that I don't need, because I intend to smash my current one with a hammer for no goddamn reason."

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Then quit the horse racing, bicycle racing and boat racing, too. There's already plenty of gambling in Japan. It's not as if the casinos will present a new threat.

My midsized hometown had horse racing.. 1 Casino opened, the new threat was a rapid influx & migration of Chinese mafia. Lending money to local Chinese and other Chinese tourists to gamble, what has followed is extortion, kidnapping, prostitution, drug importation, and murder.

That is one aspect.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Funny stuff. The casinos are aimed at siphoning more money off tourists and locals alike and are being heavily promoted by the pachinko companies whose business is declining rapidly. They actually want people to become addicted. The government doesn't care as all it sees is increased tax revenue. Sadly, only the health care experts and people like Mr. Nakamura seem to be concerned about this issue. Some of the comments on this thread are the usual heartless drivel from the usual supects who clearly have no idea what they're talking about. Gambling is an addiction, same as any other.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Oh the irony in the headline!

And in other news “Efforts are being made” to build gyms and signs placed to remind you to increase your heart rate before the new Burger and Pizza joint rolls into town.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Sf2k

Not trying to argue with your point for or against casinos, but it is easy to name towns who make money and are better off or even EXIST for Casinos.

Las Vegas, Singapore, Macau, it brings in massive gains in Australian cities too.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

"A number of people enjoy authorized forms of gambling for recreational purposes "

This kind of thinking is exactly the problem with gambling in Japan. Like balls bikes boats and horses are fine, and the evil casinos are to be wary of.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I knew a guy who was the class valedictorian of his HS class. A very intelligent guy with a fatal flaw. He was a compulsive gambler or gambling addict. Several years back he had a job in a small community and stole tens of thousands of dollars from the town to finance his gambling. There was a big scandal, everybody hated him and said awful things about him, and he ended up serving a few years in a maximum security prison. His sister, who was a nurse and was saddened to read and hear the terrible things others said about him, defended her brother saying that he and people like him needed serious psychiatric treatment, not condemnation.

The article heading above states that efforts are underway to help gambling addicts, but the problem is much more complicated than just providing help. This is problem is more about treating a specific type of mental illness.

My guess is that anybody reading this knows a similar story about somebody and will agree that this problem is less about helping gambling addicts and more about treating mental illness.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Efforts under way to help addicts ahead of legalized casino gambling

Perhaps a good effort would be to not actually build any?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Profiting at the expense of others is a form of business and governments use that for additional tax revenues by making such activities legal... such is Pachinko, Horse racing, Hound racing, Bike racing, etc. That is no different from drugs such as tobacco and alcoholic drinks. Funny it also includes gasoline...

Ever think of why governments need to much additional taxes..?

Ever think of the government "ever" really openly disclosed and justifiably accounted for the use of such funds..?

But most important have one ever thought of exactly who has really ultimatelybenefited from government expenditures using the peopkes money taken as taxes..?

Worst, has anyone ever reviewed the multiple levels of taxes that are levied and the hidden fees paid in addition to all those taxes..?

So what is the hidden taxes and fees from gambling that are being paid for by the public..?

And... who is really getting the benefits..?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

in NZ, where gambling addiction suddenly became a major problem, "around 20% (one in five) of New Zealand adults who play gaming machines regularly are likely to score as problem gamblers." 

in Australia, "Australians spend over $18 billion per annum on all forms of gambling or $1500 per capita. This amount is considerably higher compared to other countries such as New Zealand ($495 per capita), Canada ($393 per capita) and U.S.A ($325 per capita)."

"The social cost of problem gambling is around $4.7 billion a year. The social costs of problem gambling are serious and include suicide, depression, relationship breakdown, lower work productivity, job losses, bankruptcy and crime. For every problem gambler up to 10 more people suffer."

Sounds like a great idea for Japan, one of the worlds biggest gamblers. then there is the worlds largest gang group, the Triads in japan and all around. then the fact that all profits will go to japanese amukurai rich folk and USA sleezeball millionaires. then their is the vice side, drugs and prostition. then there is... 

6 ( +7 / -1 )

why not just regulate pachinko parlors like your would casinos: by extremely limiting their numbers. there's absolutely no reason for every train station to have two or three parlors nearby.  one city, one pachinko parlor. that would drastically reduce the number of addicts immediately. worrying about 9 casinos is just pathetic.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Is this idea coming from the same wonderful cabinet members who state that tobacco smoke causes no harm to others since they themselves are, and have been ‘healthy’ smokers all their lives? Casinos, smoking, organized crime, big tobacco/gambling-friendly/loving law makers...what a nice mix. Let’ enjoy!...?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

buffalo  "Casinos are a major contributor to social problems."  Can you cite me a study that supports this opinion.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Singapore?  Few cities I can think off are "better off" than Singapore.  Macau?  Pretty decent place.  London?  Full of casinos.

Just a few examples.

Legalised gambling already exists in Japan.  Casinos are just another form of gambling.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I thought gambling was illegal in Japan?..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Casinos, smoking, organized crime, big tobacco/gambling-friendly/loving law makers...what a nice mix. Let’ enjoy!...?

One funny thing I notice about ex-pats, particularly on this site, is that they are quick to complain about tobacco and gambling but nothing to say about alcoholism and drug addiction. ALL addictions can lead to consequences.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I enjoy an occasional flutter on the ponies and casinos are a lot of fun. However, it's obvious that many people cannot control themselves. There seems to be a lot of addicted gamblers in Japan, especially considering gambling is illegal. The few legal types of gambling in Japan attract all kinds of weirdos and go virtually unregulated or unmonitored. Furthermore, due to many forms of gambling being illegal it has created a huge underground network of illegal gambling on many sports like, sumo and marjong. Hopefully, legal casinos will stop the underground betting. One can also hope that, legal casinos are strictly monitored for addicted gamblers. And, let's hope they have security staff looking for kids locked in cars. They has been quite a few incidents of kids locked in cars at Australian casinos (mostly Asians), which lead to a change in legislation giving the police powers to smash windows and free the kids.

I'm pretty sure the statistics in this article have been fudged for convenience. There was a similar report a few months ago stating that 20% of Japanese adults play pachinko and half of them had gambling addiction issues. The difference between an addicted gambler and someone who just gambles for fun can be determined by answering one question: Do you play to win or to lose? An addicted gambler will always answer, "to win".

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Just a side thought...

Whose "responsibility" is it.., to care for illnesses..?

Does any government "have" and "must" take that "responsibility"..?

If it does, than to what extent..?

And at "whose" expense..?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Disillusioned

Strange question. Surely, if they “play to lose”, they’re a least a little bit odd, and quite possibly deranged....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I bet the net effect on the economy is actually negative once the social costs are accounted for. Regular consumption will create more jobs and more happiness than someone blowing the same money on losing bets.

The other danger here is that once casinos are allowed, the next step for Japan s online ones that will take your money without even the perceived benefit of employing anyone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

in Australia, "Australians spend over $18 billion per annum on all forms of gambling or $1500 per capita. This amount is considerably higher compared to other countries such as New Zealand ($495 per capita), Canada ($393 per capita) and U.S.A ($325 per capita)."

The gambling industry basically has free reign in Australia and its causing a lot of damage, especially the dreaded poker machine. Those things should be torched. At least the horse racing industry has a whole culture and tradition surrounding it which goes above and beyond just the wagering side of it and that is perhaps more positive.

Fundamentally I feel peoples money would be better spent on something other than gambling. One wonders what the Australian economy would look like if poker machines were removed. It's discretionary spending (and non discretionary in the case of addiction) that could surely be put to much better use.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The easiest and most obvious way to me to help curb the problem would be to not introduce the casinos to begin with. I mean, are they going to hire recovering alcoholics to work the bars, too?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

 As per my previous post, many great cities have casinos.

..and many great cities have many great problems with crime..

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@lucabrasi - Strange question. Surely, if they “play to lose”, they’re a least a little bit odd, and quite possibly deranged....

Deranged? How dare you! Would it help if I rephrased the question into kindergarten English for you? "Do you gamble for profit or for fun?" Obviously, you don't know the cause of gambling addiction. People who gamble to win will always lose in the long run. Whereas, people who gamble to lose will sometimes win. Can you understand it now? Or, is it too philosophical for you to understand?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Japanese individual ostracisation from groups lead to gambling issues in particular.

Then, as with any other mental issues, it takes most of the time two to beat the illness : the patient needs to accpet and realize he's concerned, then a family member, friend, doctor, association must support the addict.

When you see all the persons in pachinko parlors, they are zombies (no smile or pleasure reaction) that no cares about. You are even restricted to just watch. And anyway, noise makes you become crazy.

Casinos will be an improved form of gambling places.

I am not against since normal people will behave normal in such locations and enjoy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think it is a great idea.... I live half the year in Japan and the other half in the USA. My house in the U.S. is about 5 miles from a Casino... I might get bored about twice a year and go just to mess around with around $200. If I lose it... so be it. But I do hope that the new Casino's in Japan will be more Vegas style and hopefully have Ballrooms with some good shows. Make them upscale destination style places. I'd enjoy that. Everyone is worried about gambling... heck, if you're not a gambler by now in Japan... chances you're not about to all of a sudden become one due to these Casinos.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Whereas, people who gamble to lose will sometimes win.

does anyone in their right mind gamble to lose? that's such a preposterous statement. i mean, casual gamblers do not go into a casino with the mindset of losing. the difference between a casual and addicted gambler is that a casual gambler won't try to, or think he can, win back whatever he has lost. whereas an addict will think that his next lucky streak is coming right around the corner.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Disillusioned

You neatly changed the options in your question from play to win/play to lose, to gamble for profit/gamble for fun.

Completely different question.

I confess I can't keep up with semantic gymnastics like that.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The casinos should have an extra tax levied on them, the extra tax goes into a pot to pay for concealing that they possibly have caused to help people that have become hooked on gambling!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Very good post Matt Hartwell, agree wholeheartedly.

One wonders what the Australian economy would look like if poker machines were removed.

Have always wondered the same thing. Not only the economy btw but society as a whole, individuals etc. Perso I think all oz govts figured out pretty quickly that 'bread & circuses" were a good way to control and distract the masses from real issues. Plus it brings in billions of $ in tax revenue.

Re casinos in japan, I don't think a couple of casinos here and there, especially in seaside resort towns, will make much of a difference tbh. Thousands of pachinkos, pokies, sports betting outlets, online bookies etc do much more damage to society as they target the most vulnerable i.e retirees, low-middle income earners, unemployed or sports nuts (like me) and are accessible 24/7 from our mobile phones, where we live, work, drink, watch footy etc. 

If Japan are serious about tackling gambling addiction they should look at pachinkos first. But they probably wont. (actually think gambling addiction is 21st century cancer & it will only get worse, worldwide).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hmmm.....  Trying to contribute to the conversation but getting deleted constantly. 

Point is plenty of places with casinos are perfectly fine, relatively crime free.  Casinos in Japan will make no difference to the overall quality of life in the country.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think only Tokyo will have Vegas style casino included high rise hotels. There will be no pachinko in casinos. The business. will be like shopping center and hotels. Probably Chinese billionaires will use table game area.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Osaka officials visited last year, to find casino business of Vegas. I think they quitted casino idea. So,, only Tokyo. When Nevada officials say there is no state income or sales tax, visitors are discouraged.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only people that win at casinos are the casino owners!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If you live in Tokyo and te Casino ffer membership card, Jin but don't gamb'e. You wild receive free restaurant cuppooonn every month. Just ear free buffs but never gamble..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is no casinos in Japan yet but many wealthy people use Bakuchiba business. Addicted people often suffer stroke after gambling day. and night. (in Japan)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan already created modified version of Nevada Gaming Control Board. some years ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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