Summary of Basic Act on Countermeasures for Gambling AddictionSep 2018
|Author||Hitoshi Ishihara (Partner)|
On July 6, 2018, the Basic Act on Countermeasures for Gambling Addiction (the “Act”) was enacted during the Japanese Diet session.
This Act was enacted in light of the fact that gambling addiction is an internationally recognized disorder that not only compromises the daily life activities and social lives of those affected but also has a serious impact on the families of addicted individuals, and the fact that it has become a serious social issue in Japan. As a result, the lawmakers felt the necessity to establish the responsibilities of the national government, local government and other relevant parties with regard to gambling addiction countermeasures, stipulate the fundamental principles and matters regarding the gambling addiction countermeasures, and to thereby promote the gambling addiction countermeasures in a comprehensive and systematic manner.
The Act is one of the wave of the recent developments regarding the reform of Japanese gaming laws and regulations, but as you may understand from the title of the Act (i.e. the “ Basic Act on…”), the Act only provides the framework for the countermeasures for gambling addiction (only consisting of only 36 articles). Below is a summary of the key points of the Act.
1. The Act encompasses not only straightforward gambling but also “pachinko”.
Article 2 of the Act provides that the term “Gambling Addiction” means an addiction involving the placing of bets on public races, participation in pachinko, and other acts which carry the risk of arousing a passion for gambling for the acquisition or loss of economic benefits that are carried out in accordance with law. Thus, the act clearly encompasses “pachinko” as an activity which is subject to the Act despite the fact that it has long been classified as non-gambling entertainment.
2. The Act places responsibility on more parties than just the government and gambling-related business operators.
The Act puts the responsibility to address Gambling Addiction on various parties concerned from the national government to general citizens where:
- the national government shall be responsible in formulating and implementing the Gambling Addiction Countermeasures (Article 5),
- the local government shall be responsible to adjust such measures to be suited to the circumstance of that local area (Article 6),
- the business operator engaging in gambling-related business shall be responsible in giving the utmost consideration to the prevention of Gambling Addiction (Article 7),
- the citizens shall be responsible for endeavoring to deepen their interest in and understanding of the Gambling Addiction problem (Article 8),
- the doctors shall be responsible for endeavoring to provide quality and appropriate medical care pertaining to Gambling Addiction (Article 9), and
- those who engage in businesses related to the Gambling Addiction Countermeasures shall be responsible for endeavoring to cooperate with the Gambling Addiction Countermeasures implemented by the national and local governments (Article 10).
3. Basic Measures provided under the Act
The Act intends to take a comprehensive approach to countering gambling addiction consisting of the following nine pillars:
- Promotion of Education (Article 16)
The Act requires the national and local governments to take the necessary measures to promote education on and learning about the Gambling Addiction problem in homes, schools, workplaces, communities and various other places.
Requirement for the Gambling-Related Business Operators to conduct business by giving due consideration
The Act requires the national and local governments to take the necessary measures to ensure that the business method of Gambling-Related Business Operators is considerate of the Prevention and Other Measures against Occurrence of Gambling Addiction, with an emphasis on restriction on Gambling Addicts’ use of the operator’s facility.
- Maintenance for Medical Care System (Article 18)
The Act requires the national and local governments to take the necessary measures to (1) promote research on and development of the methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Gambling Addiction and disseminate the results, (2) provide for the maintenance of medical institutions that provide specialized medical care, (3) secure mutual coordination between medical institutions and other parties, and (4) maintain other systems that provide quality and appropriate medical care.
- Counseling and Support (Article 19)
The Act requires the national and local governments to take the necessary measures to enhance the counseling and support system for Gambling Addiction at mental health and welfare centers by providing legal advice and otherwise enhancing the counseling and support services available for Gambling Addicts and their families.
- Support for Social Rehabilitation (Article 20)
The Act requires the national and local governments to take the necessary measures to promote support for employment of Gambling Addicts and other forms of support by giving particular consideration to the social rehabilitation of Gambling Addicts who committed crimes in relation to their Gambling Addiction.
- Reduction of Financial Burden (Article 21)
The Act requires the national and local governments to reduce the financial burden of Gambling Addicts and their families who receive support from private organizations.
- Support and Coordination with Private Organizations (Article 22)
The Act requires the national and local governments to take the necessary measures to support activities where the Gambling Addicts support one another to prevent the occurrence, progression and relapse of Gambling Addiction and to recover therefrom plus other voluntary activities related to Gambling Addiction that are conducted by private organizations, and to ensure coordination between the private organizations.
- Recruitment, Training and Quality Improvement of the Personnel (Article 23)
The Act requires the national and local governments to take the necessary measures to recruit, train and improve the quality of personnel with sufficient knowledge of the Gambling Addiction problem.
- Promotion of Investigative Research (Article 24)
The Act requires the national and local governments to take the necessary measures promote fact-finding surveys and other investigative research related to the Gambling Addiction problem, including the relationship between Gambling Addiction and other problems such as multiple financial debts, poverty, domestic abuse, suicide and various crimes.
In addition to the foregoing, the supplementary provisions of the Act requires to promptly examine the following matters regarding the business method of Gambling-Related Business Operators and if the government reaches a conclusion for any of the following matters, it shall immediately take the necessary measures for the relevant matter no later than three years following the effective date of the Act:
- Control of a passion for gambling by means of the method for placing bets on public races and the performance of game machines used in pachinko, etc.;
- Method for restricting entry of persons under twenty years of age (or persons under 18 years of age in case of entry in pachinko, etc.) in places of business where bets are placed on public races or games are played in pachinko, etc. (“betting, etc.” in this paragraph);
- Restriction of betting, etc. by Gambling Addicts;
- How advertisements by Gambling-Related Business Operators should be;
- Indication concerning the risk of the Occurrence of Gambling Addiction in places of business where betting, etc. are performed, assignment of persons in charge of preventing the Occurrence of Gambling Addiction, education of employees, and establishment of other systems;
- Burden of costs for the Gambling Addiction Countermeasures by Gambling-Related Business Operators; and
- Establishment of an administrative organization that supervises business operations of Gambling- Related Business Operators.
Hitoshi Ishihara is a partner at Anderson Mōri & Tomotsune. As the sole Japanese attorney admitted to the International Masters of Gaming Law (IMGL), Mr Ishihara has extensive focus and knowledge concerning Japanese gaming law, including the recently legalized casino operations in Japan, and has been recognized as the Japanese Gaming Lawyer of the Year by multiple sources in recent years.
Mr Ishihara also provides a variety of legal services to his clients establishing and doing business in Japan, with an exceptional focus on cross-border transactions. Also, in the intellectual property field, Mr Ishihara has extensive experience in IP licensing and transactions, and also provides advice on regulatory issues.
His distinctive English skill, backed by over seven years’ experience in the United States, enables him to effectively bridge the linguistic and cultural gap faced by his clients.
He is admitted in both Japan and California (United States).