The mayor in the city of Yokohama (pictured), Japan’s second-largest metropolis by population, says it might be “difficult” for the local authorities to announce during August their implementation policy on integrated resorts (IRs), as large-scale casino complexes are known in that country. That was because Japan’s national so-called basic policy on IRs was yet to be published, said Fumiko Hayashi, in a Wednesday press briefing.
“It would be difficult for the city to finalise its [IR] implementation policy, when the [national] government has not yet determine the IR basic policy,” said Ms Hayashi, according to GGRAsia’s correspondent in Japan.
She added: “If the [national] government does not determine the IR basic policy by early August, the city cannot finalise and announce its IR implementation policy in August.”
It had been previously mentioned in government circles and by investment analysts that the national basic IR policy was to be released by July 26. A news report last week, citing a national government-linked source, said that the publication of the final version of the document would be delayed until August or later.
The authorities in Yokohama had flagged August as the month they had hoped to announce their IR implementation policy and the city’s request-for-proposal (RFP) application requirements. That was already a delay from the original time frame set for June.
In Wednesday’s briefing, Ms Hayashi said the local authorities had not yet determined if they would delay the entire process for a tilt at hosting a casino resort scheme. “We are closely watching the situation,” she noted.
Delay to publication of the national basic policy on IRs could have implications for a key phase in the first half of 2021, when local governments – in concert respectively with their selected private-sector partners – must apply to the national government for the right to host a casino resort.
Up to three such resorts will be permitted in a first phase of market liberalisation in Japan.
Companies previously identified as suitors for a Yokohama IR included Genting Singapore Ltd, operator of the Resorts World Sentosa casino complex in Singapore, and Macau operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd and Wynn Resorts Ltd – two casino groups also with Macau operations – have respectively announced a Yokohama focus in their own campaigns to win a Japan casino licence.
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