The Japan Racing Association (JRA) recently announced that it will be introducing a new system that will allow the family members of online gambling addicts to block users from making online bets. According to sources, the system will be introduced to the public before the end of this year and will begin to accept applications as early as Thursday.
The measure is part of the Japanese government push to try and find a solution to the ever growing gambling addiction problem that is plaguing Japan. Japan legalized the casino industry in late 2016 and is currently in the process of putting together regulations that will govern the industry. So in principal gambling is still prohibited in Japan except for gambling on horse races and certain types of motor sports. The Japanese government also has plans to allow gaming restrictions to be submitted by family members covering bicycle, motorbike and boat racing from April 2018.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare estimate that 3.2 million Japanese citizens stated they are having problems keeping their gambling in check. There are reports that over 700,000 locals have had issues with problem gambling this year, which is around 0.8 percent of the population. The number one game that gamblers prefer is ‘Panchinko‘, which is a form of gambling as the basic game play allows the player to turn winnings into money. The game allows the players to win metal balls, which in turn can be traded in at the redemption booth for a toy or souvenir, which in the end could be sold to a collector.The Japanese also love betting on horse racing and it is also proving to be an issue for problem gamblers.
Currently the JRA and the National Association of Racing, the company that oversees that local government horse racing, have already put into place a system which would allow problem gamblers to enroll themselves into the new system. Since the introduction of the system, 14 gamblers have been banned from online beating. JRA believes that these regulatory systems will help the company in the long run as they have reported that online betting sales account for about 60 percent of their ¥2.6 trillion annual revenue.
The move by the JRA will be beneficial for families who have members battling gambling addictions. Only time will tell how successful the new system is in helping to reduce problem gambling and offering help to families of concerned problem gamblers.