Japan anonymous crime tips system to cover online gambling

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Japan anonymous crime tips system to cover online gambling

Japan’s National Police Agency will widen the scope of its anonymous crime reporting system from October 1 to include tips on operators of illegal gambling websites.

The move comes as the National Police Agency strengthens its countermeasures against online gambling.

The police said on Tuesday it would also raise the maximum reward for an anonymous crime report to JPY1 million (US6,783), from the current JPY100,000.

The anonymous crime reporting system was originally set up in 2007, covering particular types of crime. Members of the public can file reports via a telephone hotline and a dedicated website.

In 2022, the system received more than 27,000 reports, leading to enforcement actions including arrests in a total of 45 cases. An aggregate of JPY530,000 was paid in 11 cases where the informant could be contacted by the police, reported Japanese media outlet The Mainichi.

The scheme’s initial focus was on collecting information related to human trafficking and child prostitution. Child abuse, crimes involving gangs, drug and gun cases, and phone scams were later added to the list.

Besides the operation of online casinos, another type of crime to be added to the system starting from October refers to the running of “anonymous and mobile crime groups”. These are defined by the Japanese authorities as groups that repeatedly assemble and disperse through loose ties via social media, according to The Mainichi.

Japan is currently amid the process to have its first land-based casino project approved. The final go-ahead from the national government for the scheme – to be located in Osaka – could come still this month, as hinted by Bill Hornbuckle, chief executive and president of the United States-based casino operator MGM Resorts International, one of the parties involved.

The Osaka authorities hope to open an integrated resort with a casino in partnership with MGM Resorts and Japan’s Orix Corp in “autumn 2030”. MGM Resorts has described the scheme as a “US$10-billion” project.