In the past year alone, as many as 60 Las Vegas-style daycare facilities emerged in the country that cater to local retirees,Financial Times reported. There are at least 10 million Japanese residents aged over 80.
Today’s elderly crowd, according to businessman Kaoru Mori, are tired of staying home by themselves, but at the same time, the market didn’t want the “childish, patronizing” activities that the majority of about 40,000 adult daycare facilities in the country are offering.
Entrepreneurs saw the demand for “serious activities,” and gambling-themed establishments were born. Mori, who owns at least 10 similar centers, told FT he plans to open more across Japan.
The centers, however, are carefully treading a very fine line since casino gambling is still illegal in the country. Retirees use faux currency that they earned by exercising a “Vegas stretch” warm-up routine, and winners don’t receive cash, but the daily champion’s cup, according to the report.
Of course, each player must have their blood pressure and temperature checked before the game.
Plans to legalize casinos in Japan have yet to bear fruit. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been vocal about his goal to have a casino before the 2020 Olympics, but his government don’t have the level of political support it needs to pass a legislation.
When Tokyo was announced as the host of the 2020 Summer Olympics Games in 2013, Abe saw a perfect opportunity to bring the casino matter up for consideration, saying that casinos will boost foreign visitors, which, in turn, will bring long-awaited economic growth for the country.
But last August, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party decided to sacrifice the Promote the Development of Integrated Resorts Bill to make way for other bills, including one for peace and security.
In 2013, Tokyo was announced as host of the 2020 Summer Olympics Games, which will bring millions of tourists to Japan. Abe saw this as perfect opportunity to bring the casino matter up for consideration, pointing out that casinos would further boost foreign visitors. This, in turn, would bring long-awaited economic growth.
Analysts believe the gaming expansion bill will have its next shot in 2016.
“2022 is now the earliest a large-scale IR [integrated resort] is likely to be opened in Japan,” Union Gaming Securities Asia analyst Grant Govertsen said in a note.
Until then, Japan’s dear retirees will have to settle for wholesome Las Vegas-style daycares and pachinko parlors.