In efforts to assist with gambling problems in Japan, the Japan Racing Association (JRA) is set to introduce a new program that will allow family members of gambling addicts to block individuals from taking part in online horse betting. On Monday, the JRA stated the application process for blocking will begin Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 and once accepted, the individual will be banned from online wagering.

The applications can be filled out by family members who are living with an individual who has been professionally diagnosed with a gambling disorder or are believed to be struggling with a gambling addiction based on habits involving spending.

The new program was created to assist gambling addiction as the government is preparing to discuss a bill on integrated resorts and their structure. The resorts would include casinos, which will be a first for the country, with an end goal of increasing tourism as well as seeing economic growth in the region.

The plan of the government is to place similar restrictions at the local racetracks as well as within off-track betting booths beginning in the fall of 2018. However, it is not clear as to how the government will be putting such measures in place.

Restrictions for online gambling will also be expanded upon based on the applications filled out by family members of problem gamblers to include other areas of gambling by April. This could include racing wagering involving motorbike, bicycle and motorboat.

According to the Japan Times, just over 3 million residents of Japan have suffered from an addition to gambling. A recent government survey showed that an averaged of ¥58,000 was spent every month on gambling of those surveyed, with the average age of a gambler being 46.5. It was determined that around 700,000 individuals from the ages of 20 to 74, were addicted to gambling at some point within the past year.

The National Association of Racing and the Japan Racing Association has already created a system that allows the individual to restrict themselves from online gambling, and thus far only 14 individuals have decided to be banned.

Casinos were legalized in 2016 by the Diet, which will allow for the entertainment venues to be created, offering high-stakes gambling with overnight stays via hotels and other amenities. Legislation must still be created to see the casinos come to fruition, including determining tax rates of gambling facilities as well as regulations. Compulsive gambling will also be considered. The bill that allows casinos to be created must now be debated this January when the Diet resumes.