: Classifieds : MyJU :
Stories: News
Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

Gamble or not gamble has casino gambling future in Okinawa

Date Posted: 2002-05-17

The hottest topic on which debate rages in local newspapers and radio and TV stations is whether to establish a gambling casino in the prefecture. The idea of establishing a casino in the prefecture has been brought up several times over the years, but the current prolonged economic slump has given casino proponents new ammo for their plan. The idea is of course to attract more tourists to the prefecture. 'We should change the language in the new Okinawa Promotion white paper to specifically state that we should establish a gambling casino in order to promote Okinawa as a tourist destination offering a wide variety of entertainment and activities to visitors,' Okinawa Convention Bureau Chairman Masayuki Noha said recently.

Seiichi Hiyane of Okinawa Industry Promotion Association agrees. 'Prefecture officials should have guts to inform people of the facts, and bring this debate to the public,' Hiyane says.

Some officials counsel caution, however. 'Some people are adamantly against the idea of introducing casino gambling to Okinawa. The problem is that there is not much information on hard facts on this issue, so the prefecture should take a cautious and neutral approach until a consensus can be reached,' a prefectural official who declined to be identified said.

The official agrees that promoting tourism is a high priority agenda, but 'It takes money to make money. The prefecture has a budget totaling 600 billion, but only 2.4 billion is earmarked for promoting tourism. If we are going to have a casino here, we need more budget to promote it properly.'

Over the years members of various economic organizations in Okinawa have made several fact-finding visits to casinos in Las Vegas and other locations. They have also brought an outsider expert to make survey of the prospects of establishing a casino on Okinawa.

The proponents' logic is simple. 'We really need to have some casino-type entertainment in Okinawa if we are going to be competitive in international tourism,' Hotel Seibu Orion President Hironori Kuroe says. 'A casino brings all kind of conventions and other type of visitors, and would benefit Okinawa far beyond what only gambling revenues would bring.'

Opponents are not convinced. 'What about children's education. What about natural environment,' are most commonly heard questions from people adamantly against a casino. Some also worry that the casino would not be the economic boost proponents make it to be. 'Okinawan people don't have the capital and skills to operate a successful casino. Those would have to come from the mainland and very little of the benefits would actually stay here. We are better off without a casino,' Hiroshi Miyagi, a teacher says.

Whether the casino will ever come to Okinawa, the debate is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.

Browse News Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

weather currency health and beauty restaurants Yellowpages JU Blog

JU FacebookOkistyleOkistyle

Go to advertising PDF?||?|o?L?qAE?|?}?OA?N?ga`OkiStyle?A??q?qM?oeu^?I`??N?gX?<eth>?<ETH>?ni^?IWanted!!Golden Kings ScheduleOkiNightSeeker