Families Of Problem Gamblers Empowered By New Rules In Japan

Japan Racing Association plans to let families block their own from online betting

The families of problem gamblers are soon to be empowered to have their loved one’s online racing betting accounts blocked, according to a report in the Japan Times Monday.

The Japan Racing Association has drawn up a new system for implementation early in the new year that allows families to make application for their loved one to be blocked from betting, contingent on proof that the gambler has been clinically diagnosed with gambling disorders, or is reasonably suspected of struggling with its symptoms, based on spending habits.

The newspaper reports that the system is part of government’s overall drive to curb problem and compulsive gambling as it moves towards the national introduction of regulated and licensed land gaming resorts (see previous InfoPowa reports).

The system will be applied at racetracks and off-track betting booths, and there are plans to extend its provisions to bicycle, motorbike and motorboat racing beginning next April.

In collaboration withn the National Association of Racing, the JRA has already introduced a system that allows gamblers themselves to self-exclude.

The Japan Times references a recent government gambling addition study which suggested that an estimated 3.2 million Japanese have likely suffered from gambling addiction.

The study was based on a sample of 4,685 people and indicated that 0.8 percent of the population between 20 to 74 were likely addicted at some point in the past year, with their average age being 46.5. An average of Yen 58,000 was spent on gambling per month, which mainly went on pachinko games.

A spokesman for the JRA told the Japan Times that revenue from online betting accounts for around 60 percent of racing sector annual revenues, which reached Yen 2.6 trillion last year.

In general, gambling is currently prohibited in Japan, with the exception of bets of horse racing and certain motor sports.