Poker to be reinstated in Japan as IR bill planning in final stages
The Japanese government has finalized plans to allow the passage of the Integrated Resorts (IR) bill.
This bill will remove the ban on poker and permit casino businesses in the Asian country.
Poker had earlier been banned in Japan because of the high level of uncertainty surrounding the game. Casino gambling had then been limited to roulette and similar games of extreme chance.
The reason for this was to prevent unfairness.
The government is however allowing poker at casinos again because it is believed that dealers can be entrusted with keeping the game fair.
Poker is fairly popular in Japan, and the government is of the mindset that unbanning it would increase the drawing power of integrated resorts.
There are three conditions attached to the IR bill at the moment. They are that:
- Casino operators must guarantee fairness at the gaming table
- Gaming should only be carried on at the casino centers
- Gambling should only be allowed on games with high levels of probability
Based on these conditions, accepted casino games include roulette, blackjack and baccarat among others. Mahjong, shogi, and poker are banned since players play against each other and it is very difficult to guarantee fairness and transparency.
Banning poker however has proven difficult becasue the game has such a large footprint, including major international tournaments in neighbouring Asian countries.
Las Vegas and Macau host various professional poker tournaments with lots of global patronage. Officials in Japan believe the country would generate lots of gaming revenue if poker tournaments are allowed in the country.
To this extent, the Japanese government, in consultation with casino operators believe, have reached the conclusion that poker must be included in any new land-based ventures which could be finished as soon as 2022.