Japan’s national government is preparing to announce it will delay by at least nine months – from January 2021 to autumn 2021 – the period to accept proposals for the development of casino resorts in the country. That is according to a report on Friday by Kyodo News agency.
Similar reports were carried on the same day by multiple media outlets in Japan. An announcement on the matter by the Japanese government could take place as early as Friday (October 9), noted some reports.
According to sources familiar with the matter quoted by Kyodo, the decision to delay the tender process was related with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in Japan. Other reasons mentioned in the news report included public “confusion” on the topic of casino resort legalisation, following a corruption scandal involving Tsukasa Akimoto, a former ruling party lawmaker who was part of the initiative to legalise casinos in Japan.
Kyodo reported that – according to its sources – Japan’s national government had decided to postpone the tender proceedings until next autumn at the earliest. According to the sources, that would also impact the targeted opening date for Japan’s first casino resorts – known in the country as integrated resorts (IRs).
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.
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 has not yet been published, making it hard for suitors to be sure of the ground rules for bids.
Some media reports on Friday stated that the Japanese national authorities would be publishing – along with the IR tender postponement announcement – a revised draft of its IR basic policy; a first version had been presented last year.
The revised draft was likely to include guidelines related with infectious disease countermeasures inside IRs, and to introduce rules on exchanges between private casino operators and government officials, it was previously reported.
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