Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture began on Thursday - as pledged - its request-for-proposal (RFP) process regarding the possibility of getting a casino resort there.
January 28 is the deadline for submitting application documents, with a resort operating partner to be chosen in “summer – autumn” this year, and any resort built, to open in the “mid- to late-2020s,” according to a memo released by the prefecture’s Integrated Resort Promotion Division.
“Inquiries regarding the application guidelines from prospective applicants will be accepted via email until January 15th, 2021,” added an official in an email to GGRAsia in response to our enquiry.
“We expect to have the IR operator selected at a time between summer and autumn of 2021,” added the person, referring to an integrated resort (IR) the term used in Japan for large-scale tourism complexes with a casino.
Up to three facilities will be permitted across the country in a first phase of liberalisation.
“Nagasaki prefecture will continue to proceed with integrity and provide updates on the IR operator selection process,” the official further noted in the email.
Information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent provided other detail on Nagasaki’s RFP timetable.
In March, it anticipated there will be an announcement of “first-round selection results”, narrowing the number of likely suitors to three.
The Nagasaki Shimbun newspaper recently reported that “at least three” foreign casino resort operators, described as “mid-sized”, had come forward as fresh contenders for Nagasaki’s tilt at having such a facility.
That number was in addition to the trio of contenders that declared interest in Nagasaki prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and then in the summer respectively reaffirmed such interest: Japan’s Current Corp; a Japan unit of Casinos Austria International Holdings GmbH; and Hong Kong-listed Oshidori International Holdings Ltd.
In November, Tokyo-listed Pixel Companyz Inc said a consortium it leads would focus on Nagasaki prefecture in its pursuit of a Japan casino licence.
More detail on timetable
According to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent – citing information released on Thursday – Nagasaki offered some more precise dates for some of the phases of its IR tilt.
It would intend in May to implement a “probity test” on its narrowed list of potential private-sector partners. August would see the selection of an IR operator, with a series of steps after that.
In “summer to autumn” this year would be the conclusion of an “IR foundation agreement” between the prefecture and the operator.
“Summer to winter” 2021 would see the establishment of an “IR development plan”.
Then in “spring 2022” would come respective resolutions by the prefectural government and Sasebo city council – Sasebo being within the prefecture (pictured) and the proposed location of the project – on the local IR development plan.
Japanese local governments interested in hosting an IR must first find a private-sector partner, then apply to the national government.
A December 18 announcement by the country’s government – the same day it confirmed the national basic policy on IRs – reiterated the central authorities would start accepting local-government submissions for the right to host a resort from October 1, 2021, with a closing date of April 28, 2022
Were Nagasaki to receive approval, then according to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent, 2023 would see the conclusion of the IR implementation agreement between Nagasaki prefecture and the IR operator, in order to start construction.
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