Chinese Gambling Travel Blacklist Could Negatively Affect Japanese IR Casino Expansion, Lawmaker Says

A Japanese lawmaker has shared his concern with the recently announced Chinese travel blacklist. Kenji Eda, a member of the Japanese House of Representatives, has been asking questions if Japan’s pursuit of a gambling sector’s expansion through the addition of integrated casino resorts (IRs) could result in putting the country on the travel blacklist unveiled by the Government of mainland China.

So far, his question remains unanswered.

Earlier this month, Mr. Eda used his personal website to post some questions to the Japanese Parliament and share some concerns regarding the future viability of the country’s casino sector. He has criticized the push to the planned establishment of integrated casino resorts, opposing the overall value that would be brought by the expansion of the Japanese gambling sector.

According to the House of Representatives’ member, the casino business is already oversaturated with competition in the US, Europe and East Asia. Mr. Eda said this could make it hard for Japan to attract foreign customers with casino operations because people already have a large variety of options all over the world. Wealthy Chinese residents have been considered as one of the most possible options, but he believes such customers would prefer going to Macau or South Korea instead of Japan.

Still No Specific Details Provided about the Chinese Gambling Travel Blacklist

Another major concern shared by the Japanese lawmaker on his personal website is the travel blacklist unveiled by the Chinese Government, under which tourists would be suspended from traveling to gambling destinations. Mr. Eda wrote that, after taking this in mind, no wonder there are concerns that overseas casinos are places making crime and corruption flourish. This is exactly why he urged the Government to reveal whether it is aware of this system.

In August 2020, the Government of mainland China announced its blacklist system aimed at putting restrictions on local people’s trips to foreign casino destinations, alleging that foreign gambling resorts put Chinese people’s property and safety in danger. This decision could have a massive impact on the management of integrated casino resorts in East Asia, especially considering the fact that most of these venues have depended on affluent Chinese gamblers.

The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent closure of countries’ borders have already affected the performance of integrated casino resorts in the region. Previously, the Government of mainland China has imposed traveling restrictions on South Korea because the US military’s ground-based missile interception system had been deployed there and it believed there was a risk that the system would be subject to political use.

For the time being, the exact details of the gambling travel blacklist of the Chinese Government, which was expanded in January 2021, still remain largely unknown. According to some guesses, made by industry analysts, the blacklist includes the Philippines, Australia, Vietnam and Cambodia, while Macau seems to be unaffected.

The Government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga started to address some of Mr. Eda’s concerns on February 19th, but in reality, it did not provide much of an answer on the matter. It became clear that the Japanese Government was aware of China’s decision to expand its gambling travel blacklist but was not familiar with the specific details.

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