Japan’s national government said on Tuesday that it would now make public only in February or March its so-called “basic policy” on integrated resorts (IRs) as large-scale casino complexes with supporting tourism facilities are known in that country.
The governing coalition led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party, first made public a draft version of the IR basic policy in early September. It had been expected a final draft would be published in late January.
Nonetheless according to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent, despite the latest annoucement, Japan’s central authorities plan to stick to a previously-mentioned schedule for the application period during which local governments can seek the right to host such a resort. That has been proposed previously as from early January, 2021, up to July 30 that year. A maximum of three IRs will be permitted nationally under a first phase of market liberalisation.
The slight delay in announcing the national government’s basic policy on IRs was because of plans to make “small adjustments” to it, in consultation with the recently-activated casino management commission, said local media.
A specific is that the central government is to insert into the basic policy a new rule concerning communication between gaming-sector operators and government officials in Japan.
The news comes on the heels of an emerging casino bribery scandal in Japan. The latter includes allegations against Tsukasa Akimoto, a former ruling-party member and lawmaker, over claims of casino lobbying by Chinese online gaming firm 500.com Ltd.
On Monday, it had been reported the national authorities were mulling a delay on stating the basic policy on IRs. The opposition is seeking a repeal of enabling legislation relating to the sector.
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Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President of Macau casino operator Sands China