“From a practical viewpoint, it seems quite difficult” for Japan’s national authorities to be able to make a decision by the end of the calendar year, on respective proposals by Osaka and Nagasaki to create an integrated resort (IR) with casino, according to a central government official quoted on Thursday.
Kyodo News was reporting on the comments at a meeting that day between the main national opposition, the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the department overseeing the approval of the IR District Development Plans respectively submitted in April by the conurbations.
The news outlet added – without identifying either a source or the rationale – that a delay beyond year-end could put back such resorts’ planned openings in 2029 for Osaka, and 2027 for Nagasaki.
Several Osaka MPs have recently pressed senior national government figures to expedite the approval of Osaka’s plan.
MGM Resorts International, part of the proposed private-sector partnership for a JPY1.08-billion (US$7.91 billion at current exchange rates) casino resort, had previously mentioned the possibility of a decision by this autumn.
Osaka’s city mayor had flagged last month that the national authorities had asked for more information concerning the proposed site at Yumeshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay.
Local-government representatives in Nagasaki have repeatedly pressed the authorities there to give more information on the funding for what has been touted as a JPY438.3-billion project.
In other developments, Bloomberg News quoted on Thursday Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura as saying that Osaka in preparing for a casino resort had originally “a huge volume of inbound Chinese tourists in mind”. But the situation had changed and the scheme would be “perfectly viable without the Chinese tourists,” stated Mr Yoshimura.
The official cited China’s ongoing restrictions on outbound travel by its own citizens, as a Covid-19 countermeasure, as being a factor.
China also has a policy of enforcement action against what it terms “cross-border” gambling by its citizens, and has threatened to place on a watch list, any jurisdictions that actively solicit its citizens to gamble.
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”We committed to the government to provide a full business idea and plan for Phase 1b around 12 months after the casino opens, therefore, probably early 2025”
President of the Mohegan Inspire Entertainment Resort in South Korea