In view of the recent media reports that the health ministry is pushing to ban Japanese nationals from the legalize casino in Japan due to fears about addiction, Toru Mihara said he wants local gamblers to be allowed. Mihara, a Professor at the Osaka University of Commerce and legal adviser to the Japanese lawmakers seeking to legalize casinos, was involved in drafting the casino bill. He told reporters the government should tackle the issue of problem gambling through counseling and other means, and not by imposing a ban.
Asked whether he thought casino gambling should be limited to foreigners, Mihara said: "It would be entirely out of the question. I would estimate that about 80 percent of all visitors will be Japanese. The remainder will be foreigners." Companies including Las Vegas Sands Corp and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd are vying to win the first licences to operate casinos in Japan, a market that brokerage CLSA estimates could generate annual revenue of $40 billion. [Reuters, 28 Aug 2014].
Casino resorts were identified as the key feature under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic growth plan. Any delays in the process could dampen the hopes of global casino operators intention to capture the gaming market in time for tourism peak during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.