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Gov't panel proposes casino sizes, need for gamblers' ID for big bets

In this Jan. 11, 2017 file photo, a customer plays roulette at the Hippodrome Casino in London. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- The maximum space for casinos should be no more than 3 percent of the total floor space of each integrated resort to be opened in Japan, while gamblers' IDs should be confirmed for hefty bets, according to a set of standards for casinos proposed by a government panel.

The government compiled the proposals during a meeting on Dec. 4 of an expert panel on the promotion of integrated resorts. After further discussions, the government will issue a decree setting the standards based on the Act on Promotion of Development of Specified Complex Tourist Facilities Area.

Under the proposal, the identities of casino gamblers need to be confirmed if they are willing to buy chips worth 300,000 yen or more in cash. The measure is aimed at preventing money laundering by organized crime groups and other criminal rings. If customers intend to exchange about 1 million yen or more for chips, they need to be reported to a casino management commission that will be established.

The plan also requires confirmation of customers' IDs when they are opening accounts for use at casino resorts, making deposits and borrowing money.

As for the size of casinos, the ruling parties had earlier set the maximum space as no more than 3 percent of each integrated resort during prior consultations, but the specifics were not included in the Act on Promotion of Development of Specified Complex Tourist Facilities Area that was enacted in July.

The panel proposed that casinos can occupy no more than 3 percent of the total floor space of each integrated resort in light of examples in Singapore during the meeting on Dec. 4.

The panel also suggested that the ratio of spaces for guest rooms and suites be larger than that in existing domestic facilities, to be on par with that at integrated resort facilities abroad.

Specifically, the panel pointed out that the average standards of lodging facilities at integrated resorts overseas is greater than those of leading accommodation facilities in Japan. For example, the minimum guest room space in foreign countries is 40 square meters on average, about 1.4 times that in Japan. The average number of guest rooms also stands at 2,495 overseas -- about 2.7 times that here in this country. The ratio of suites is 19.2 percent abroad, about 3.6 times that in Japan. The panel called for reviewing standards so the same level of guest rooms and suites can be offered at Japanese facilities.

The government will finalize the specific figures for each standard and seek to implement a government decree by late April next year.

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