Japan to Allow Poker in Local Casinos under IR Bill

The Japanese Government has made a decision to allow poker in local casinos under the new Integrated Resorts Bill which is set to allow the establishment of casino venues as part of larger entertainment resorts in the country.

The local Government had originally planned to lift the gambling ban only to allow games of chance, such as blackjack or roulette, in order to keep fairness in the Japanese gambling market. However, it finally agreed that casino dealers at the poker tables would be able to keep the integrity and fairness of the games even in case that players take up an attitude of confrontation.

According to experts, lifting the poker ban by Japan would make the game extremely popular among potential casino customers, which on the other hand would increase the attractiveness of local integrated casino resorts not only for Japanese residents, but also for players from abroad.

With the authorities’ decision to allow poker at local casinos, rules that are to be forged in terms of the Japanese gambling industry are finally starting to take shape. Technically, casino gambling was legalised in Japan at the end of 2016, but the country lacked separate piece of legislation to outline the implementation of new rules. In case that everything is going well, Japan could see the Integrated Resorts bill passed by the end of the ongoing Diet session, and the first casino open in five years. The bidding war for local casino licenses is expected to start in 2020.

Poker Could Boost Interest towards Japanese Casino Market

For the time being, the Integrated Resorts bill states that casino operators are obliged to make sure that fairness of the games available is guaranteed. In addition, the games offered by gambling companies must only be available on the casino premises of the operator, with them being only games of chance. In other words, the casino games allowed under the new piece of legislation in Japan would include blackjack, baccarat and roulette.

Games which place players in direct competition against each other and are therefore hard to keep fair, are not expected to be given the green light and would probably remain out of the scope of the new Integrated Resorts bill. Until recently, poker was also expected to remain banned at Japanese casinos for the same reason.

The game of poker, however, turned out to be quite popular among Japanese residents, with many professional poker players being regular customers of foreign casino venues. Japanese poker professionals are also regularly present at live poker tournaments around the world.

These considerations have obviously been taken into account by the Japanese Government, which is not only lifting the casino poker ban, but has already started thinking of ways to make sure that the game’s fairness is guaranteed. Various measures are expected to be implemented in order for this to happen, with the final decision on the types of games to be permitted at Japan’s casinos is to be left to be made by the so-called casino management committees – special administrative bodies which are to be established after the Integrated Resorts bill is finally passed.

  • Author
Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.
Daniel Williams
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