The government of Wakayama prefecture in Japan has told GGRAsia it is postponing until March an announcement about its plans for a so-called integrated resort (IR).
Local governments in Japan have been asked by the central government to team up with investors to respond to a request for concept (RFC) – to be issued by the central authorities – regarding locations for a so far unspecified number of large-scale resorts offering casino gambling as well as other tourism facilities.
A Wakayama official confirmed on Thursday that the local government’s concept would still contain a foreigner-only casino, rather than one open to all comers, including locals.
In June the local authority had said it intended to make an announcement in November regarding what it termed the “master plan” for the proposed casino scheme.
“We are still proposing a foreigner-only casino… It has been like that for a long time and nothing has changed,” the official told us in an emailed update.
“But we have got some opinions from the business community [regarding possible adjustments to the IR scheme],” the person added. “We will announce the plan by the end of March,” he stated.
The official clarified that the delay in the master plan announcement was “because of the political situation in Japan”. Japan’s IR Implementation Bill is likely now to be delayed until at least the spring of next year due to Japan’s snap election to be held in late October.
Credit agency Fitch Ratings Inc said in a memo late last month that the IR Implementation Bill “would determine critical details including the number of casinos permitted and potential visitation restrictions for Japanese nationals”.
Wakayama had previously said it hoped to start preparatory work in December on the RFC stage of the process. But the local government official told GGRAsia: “The RFC process will be delayed too and now we are not sure when we will start it.”
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