he main purpose of this meeting was to explain the official outlines of Casino Bill elaborated by House Legislation Bureau and to listen to comments from members of IR and Casino Diet Member Association of each parties.
Chairman Koga presented his opening remarks with the information on the aggressive movement to expand Casino in other Asian countries as well as on the passed process to hold hearings with entire ministries to come up with the official outlines.
Vice chairman Iwaya stated that additional purpose to support the recovery process of Tohoku region hit by the earthquake is added to the Bill. He suggested that it would be possible to propose the Bill at the next extraordinary session to be held in this coming autumn under the supposedly new political scheme.
Then Mihara explained the outline of Casino Bill. The main points are as follows:
1) This outline was drafted based on the last year’s Chairman’s draft with almost all relevant issues covered.
2) There are two main bills contained. One is the legislation to nominate the IR region to promote international tourism and regional development. Another is to approve the operation of casino.
3) Number of nominated IR region is increased to 3 regions for the first place from the original proposal of 2 regions. Nomination is controlled by minister of land, infrastructure and transportation. And the process would be supported by a newly established official committee.
4) Casino operation approval would be administrated by Cabinet Office and newly established body is supposed to play a key role in the approval process and daily management.
This institution is supposed to have certain legislative power as well as certain authorization of arrest. Various matters including money laundering, mafia connection, etc. would be considered. Gamble dependence prevention shall be one of the most important matters to be covered.
5) For the first several years, governmental revenue from the casino operation will be partially contributed to the earthquake recovery process.
6) Regulatory cost shall be separately covered by operators.
7) Restriction of entrance to casino through identification check shall be managed by operators regarding under age customers. With respect to the prevention of entrance of criminals is to be further elaborated.
8) Procedure to administrate operation license and manufacturer’s license would be required.
9) Distribution of revenue among related area shall be further discussed.
10) There is an idea to charge entry fee to be contributed to the special national budget to support dependence prevention as well as to other regional measures.
11) Biggest issue of the legalization of gambling in the Criminal Code shall be covered through further effort mainly by MOL.
After the Mihara’s explanation, number of members presented their opinion on the Bill and the next step to be taken but almost all of them were extremely aggressive. Shimoji stated that it is required to clearly set the timing to officially propose the Bill, looking at the scarce attendance to this general assembly of IR and Casino Diet Member Association. Then, Motegi mentioned that it is better to propose this Bill at the currently held ordinary session of congress since this issue would not be much related to the current political division matter.
Responding to the above comments as well as positive comments of other members, Chairman Koga requested to all attended members to further elaborate to build consensus in each relevant party. He stated that policy building bureau would be involved in the further procedure in DPJ. In addition, he revealed that there would be a full page article in Asahi Newspaper in the near future with respect to this casino legalization issue.
Vice chairman Iwaya mentioned that there is a kind of authorization given to relevant committees in LDP regarding this casino legalization issue and that it would not be a such time consuming process at LDP.
Finally, Ozawa made closing remarks with his request of endeavor to all members stating that the most important issue for now would be to enhance the public discussion on this matter and to officially propose the Bill.