Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture is aiming to launch on October 1 a request-for-concept (RFC) phase for commercial partners interested in running a casino resort locally, confirmed officials from the prefectural government’s planning and development department in emailed comments to GGRAsia. The RFC schedule was announced at the Nagasaki prefectural assembly on Thursday.
According to the schedule mentioned on Thursday, the details and guidelines of the RFC process will be published on October 1 on the website of the Nagasaki prefectural government. Companies that wish to participate in the process have until November 22 to make known their intentions. The deadline for concept proposals will be January 10, 2020. After that, there will be negotiations between the local government and potential bidders.
The guidelines for Nagasaki’s RFC phase will cover a wide range of topics, said the officials. They include: introduction of new business policies; the kind of facilities to be built as part of an IR; and the implementation of measures to counter gambling addiction.
“Participation in this RFC [process] is not a condition for participation in the RFP [request-for-proposal phase],” the government officials told GGRAsia. Nagasaki prefecture is yet to decide on a schedule for the RFP phase, they added.
Nagasaki officials said in a recent interview with GGRAsia the prefecture expected to be able to open an IR around the year 2025 – the same time frame being talked about by Osaka. The latter city has been one of the most bullish in Japan in terms of striving to have a casino. It has already started an RFC phase for would-be investors.
Japan’s national government announced earlier this month the draft basic policy on integrated resorts or “IRs”. A public consultation on the draft policy is currently running until October 3.
A key step for local governments interested in hosting a casino resort will be their ability to meet the expectations of that national policy. The central authorities will allow a maximum of three IRs in a first phase of market liberalisation.
Those local governments qualified to apply to the national government for permission to host an IR – namely prefectures and ordinance-level cities – need to team with private-sector partners prior making their bid to the national government.
Japan’s Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Kazuyoshi Akaba, revealed this week that eight places in Japan were definitely considering seeking national government permission to host casino resorts. He was citing the results of a survey by the Japan Tourism Agency.
The eight places were: Hokkaido, Chiba city, Tokyo, Yokohama city, Nagoya city, Osaka, Wakayama, and Nagasaki.
In June at an event called the Kyushu-Nagasaki IR Business Connect seminar in Sasebo that was attended by GGRAsia, the governor of Nagasaki, Hodo Nakamura, said his area was one of the “most advanced” in Japan in terms of garnering public support for the idea of hosting a casino resort.
In April, the operator of the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo and the governments of Sasebo (pictured) and Nagasaki prefecture struck a deal to have land at the theme park reserved to enable construction of a casino resort there.
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