The re-election of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (pictured) as president of the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is not likely to speed the advent of the country’s first casino venues, known locally as integrated resorts (IR), several analysts remarked to GGRAsia.
Mr Abe was returned on September 20 as president for his third consecutive three-year term at the helm of the LDP. It puts him on course to become the longest-serving prime minister in Japan during recent times, several media reports said.
“I don’t think his re-election will have any impact on the IR situation other than it will keep moving it forward. Otherwise this doesn’t change the pace of IR events,” Grant Govertsen, an analyst at brokerage Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd, commented to us in an email.
“We continue to believe that the first licence(s) are at least two years away from being issued, if not longer, and that the first IR is unlikely to open prior to 2025,” Mr Govertsen added.
Brokerage CLSA Ltd was cited by Hong Kong media – after a briefing earlier this month – saying that the first Japanese resorts might not open until 2026 at the earliest, with Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama likely to be the front-runner locations for the first wave of openings.
Mike Tanji, chairman of Tokyo-based Gaming Capital Management Inc, shares the view that Mr Abe’s victory may not “much affect” the process for the licensing of Japan’s first wave of casino resorts. Such process is also likely to be lengthy since Japan’s administration has several issues to be addressed on the topic, he noted.
“Firstly, it is required to have the Casino Control Committee [sic] to be formed,” noted Mr Tanji, referring to a body also reportedly known as the Casino Administration Committee.
“At the same time, there shall be certain guidelines to be announced by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism,” Mr Tanji remarked to us in his email.
That ministry will reportedly set out certain terms under which casino resorts can conduct business.
The Casino Administration Committee is due to come into being from July 1 next year. The body will reportedly be in charge of casino regulation, including licensing control, probity and background checks, but will not be involved in day-to-day oversight of casino operations.
“There shall be detailed legislation further to be discussed, and local government shall prepare certain procedures for RFP [request for proposal]. These kinds of issues will take relatively a long time since our country has no experience in this field,” Mr Tanji added.
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