Photo/IllutrationRoulette wheels like this would be legal in Japan if legislation passes the Diet. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Yakuza organized crime groups are plotting to infiltrate casinos in nefarious ways if legislation to allow them passes in the Diet later this week, a gang member has admitted to The Asahi Shimbun.

The law will for the first time allow private companies to operate legalized gambling in the form of casinos, but criminal organizations are also poised to enter the lucrative markets of constructing and operating casinos at “integrated resorts.”

A high-ranking member of a Kanto region gang affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza syndicate said, "Once rules are decided on how to place restrictions on organized crime, we can begin thinking about ways to get around those legal barriers."

The member said that much like in the construction industry there are always ways to conceal the true nature of companies and join major construction projects as subcontractors.

The gang member added that once a casino starts operations, there are also other possible business opportunities for the yakuza, such as providing shady loans to gamblers.

"By providing hotel accommodations and airline tickets for VIPs, we can then lend them money at exorbitant interest rates," the member said. "There is no way we would lose money."

The member was also considering infiltrating casinos with crooked dealers so that certain gamblers would be guaranteed to win at poker and other card games.

Meanwhile, a source with an organized gang in western Japan predicted that illegal casinos would emerge to get around the various restrictions included in the legislation now before the Upper House. The bills limit the number of times an individual can visit a casino over specific time periods, as well as establish entrance fees for legitimate casinos.

"Once people learn the fun of casinos, they will definitely want to visit places where there are no restrictions on entrance," the source said. "Illegal casinos might even open up in regional cities."

The casino oversight committee that is to be established will examine potential casino operators to ensure they possess sufficient societal trust.

But stiffer laws against organized crime have led to many gangs concealing their true nature in recent years.

One source involved in investigations at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department said, "In order to get around the restrictions of the law aimed at organized crime, there has been an increase in the number of members who hide their affiliation."

Some companies, such as hotel chains, have already taken steps to weed out anyone with ties to organized crime, but those in charge of such measures admit that it is not always easy to clearly define who actually belongs to a gang.

Security Protection Network Co., a Tokyo-based consulting company, has recently received inquiries from abroad for checks into whether certain Japanese belonged to an anti-social element.

Tsunehito Haga, a company vice president, said proper checks would involve huge amounts of time and money.

"It is still unclear how thoroughly private companies will implement measures, such as restricting casino visits and dealing with shady dealers, because there is always the possibility that potential customers may stay away if the measures become too strict," Haga said.