Japan’s national government announced on Wednesday the draft basic policy on integrated resorts or “IRs” as large-scale casino complexes with hotels, conference facilities and shopping and other entertainment are known in that country. So reported the Kyodo news agency.
According to information collated by GGRAsia’s correspondent, there will be a period of public consultation on the draft policy, running from September 4 until October 3. The document is said to run to 46 pages.
The ability to conform with the expectations of the policy will be a key step for local governments interested in hosting such a facility. The central authorities will allow a maximum of three IRs in a first phase of market liberalisation.
The deadline for local governments to make an application to host a casino resort under the terms of the basic policy on IRs has yet to be decided, according to Kyodo.
Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary, reportedly said in press briefing on Wednesday that the government was moving ahead with the procedures to establish IRs as quickly as possible.
On the same day as the basic policy was announced, the authorities in Osaka said they would move forward with selecting private-sector partners, with the aim to announce such partners by spring next year.
Key points of the draft basic policy – announced by the Japan Tourism Agency and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism – included: whether a candidate location and its proposed scheme is internationally competitive; whether it has a high-quality facility that can host large conferences; and whether it can be accessed easily from major cities within Japan and places abroad.
The national government also plans to assess whether: a candidate local authority is taking effective countermeasures against potential harms to the community from casinos, as identified by Japanese officials, researchers and scholars; and whether the proposed project will help Japan achieve its target of attracting 60 million foreign visitors to the country annually by 2030.
So far, the prefecture and the city of Osaka as well as Yokohama and the prefectures of Wakayama and Nagasaki have expressed interest in being candidates for the resorts, while Tokyo, Hokkaido and the city of Chiba are also reportedly considering joining the race.
Hirofumi Yoshimura, the governor of Osaka prefecture, reportedly said on Wednesday the metropolis would launch a request-for-proposal (RFP) phase before the end of this year in its quest for private-sector partners for a casino resort.
He added at a media briefing it was hoped Osaka could complete the operator selection process by spring 2020. Osaka has been consistently bullish in its support for an IR and the planning to get one.
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"The initial expectation for the October Golden Week was that the Cotai casino resorts might see an average occupancy rate at 80 percent to 90 percent. But that rate now might stand at just 50 percent to 60 percent... following Macau’s news of the new Covid-19 infection cases”
Andy Wu Keng Kuong
President of the Macau Travel Industry Council