Japan’s national government plans to start accepting proposals for integrated resorts (IRs) – as casino complexes are known in that country – from October 2021. That is according to an announcement on Friday by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.
The proposed closing date for such submissions – to be made by local governments – would be April 28, 2022, said the ministry, according to GGRAsia’s correspondent in Japan.
That is a delay of at least nine months in the process to introduce casino resorts in Japan, a decision the national government attributed to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
A total of three casino resorts will be permitted nationally in a first phase of liberalisation. The policy has been presented as a form of stimulus for regional economies, in terms of drawing in tourists from overseas.
On Friday, the Japanese national authorities also published a revised draft of its IR basic policy; a first version had been presented last year.
The revised draft adds guidelines related with infectious disease countermeasures inside casino resorts. The document also introduces rules on exchanges between private casino operators and government officials.
According to the government, there will be a period of public consultation on the revised draft policy, running until November 7.
It had previously been mentioned in commentary by the central authorities that local governments – with a selected private-sector partner – would be expected to apply in the first half of 2021 to the national government for the right to host a casino resort.
A sticking point however was that the national policy for IR development had not yet been published, making it hard for suitors to be sure of the ground rules for bids. A number of local governments had been racing to set up or complete processes for choosing a private-sector casino operator, but some authorities have announced in recent months delays to such procedures.
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