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Osaka to Increase Number of Addiction Centres Before Casino Opening

March 27, 2023 Japan Casino & HotelEmerging Markets

Japan.- Osaka would increase its number of psychiatric medical institutions by 140 per cent to deal with gambling addiction ahead of the opening of its planned integrated resort casino. The number of centres aimed at countering addiction would rise from 25 to 60 by the end of the 2025 financial year, according to documents released by the Osaka authorities.

The Osaka Addiction Treatment Inclusive Support (OATIS) will be set up to collaborate with an addiction-support centre and an addiction treatment and research centre.

The information was made public after a meeting that approved the ‘2nd-term promotion plan of gambling addiction countermeasures’. Osaka has made a bid to host an integrated resort with MGM Resorts International and ORIX as its IR partner. MGM-Orix has proposed to invest JPY1.08tn (US$8.38bn).

The national government has given applicants the responsibility of creating robust anti-addiction support systems at the local level for those who use casinos at IRs. Osaka’s IR District Development Plan was submitted to national authorities in April last year and is still under consideration. Nagasaki prefecture, which also applied to host a casino resort, is also still awaiting news.

On MGM Resorts’ fourth-quarter earnings call, MGM president and CEO Bill Hornbuckle expressed frustration at the government’s lack of response to a proposal. Hornbuckle said he hoped there would be news soon but that if not the objective of a 2029 opening would be missed.

In February it was revealed Osaka’s prefectural and city authorities had allotted JPY600m (US$4.5m) in the budget for the forthcoming fiscal year to their joint pursuit of an IR. According to GGRAsia, this represents a 6.4 per cent decrease from the financial year 2022.

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