A consulting firm says that unless the Japanese national authorities set out by the second quarter of 2020 the so-called basic policy regarding casino resorts, the city of Osaka might not be able to have its hoped-for casino resort by the time the World Expo opens there in 2025.
Global Market Advisors LLC (GMA) issued on Tuesday a report on how the firm thinks events might unfold as Japan goes about introducing casino resorts.
“If there is not a process in place by the second quarter 2020, it is unlikely that a full integrated resort would be open in time to meet the desires of Osaka for the World Expo in 2025,” the report stated. In the Japan context, large scale casino venues with tourism and meeting facilities are known as integrated resorts or “IRs”.
Jim Murren, chairman and chief executive of MGM Resorts International – one of seven declared suitors for Osaka – recently mentioned the tight timetable regarding the 2025 aspiration by the local authorities.
GMA noted the Japanese national authorities were still working through some key steps in the lead up to selecting locations, including the formation of a casino management commission.
“It was thought that the commission would likely be appointed before the end of the current regular session of the Diet,” said the consultancy, referring to the country’s two-chamber parliament. The main parliamentary sitting this year – known as the ordinary session – is due to end on June 26. There can be – depending on parliamentary business – also an extraordinary session that usually begins in the autumn.
GMA stated, referring to the forming of the casino management commission: “This part of the process has been delayed because of the upcoming elections that have been planned for the upper house of the Diet. While it has not been confirmed that a double election would occur in July 2019, there is also the potential that a snap election in the lower house could be held at the same time,” the paper said.
“While many reports have stated that this will delay the process up to a year, it will likely only be a small delay in the overall process to establish gaming regulations, which would create the… commission and the subsequent regulations that will need to be made.”
GMA said it typically took between 34 and 40 months for the construction phase of a big casino resort.
In the case of Japan, what GMA termed “the full development timeline” would be likely range from 54 months to over 64 months it said. “There are 67 months until the start of 2025. As such, licences would have to be awarded within the next 12 months to have a chance at opening a complete integrated resort that is ready to go by 2025.”
The consultancy added, alluding to the process whereby local governments in Japan must first choose commercial partners and then apply to the national government for the right to host such a project: “While some [casino operators] may take a risk and begin the environmental and final design processes prior to the awarding of a licence, they would potentially be spending hundreds of millions of [U.S.] dollars with no official guarantee of securing one of the three licences.”
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"There’s a huge amount of possibilities out there and in the case of Macau, it seems that some of these issues should be considered or we may lose the epithet of gambling capital of the world"
Macau-based lawyer and senior partner at law firm Rato, Ling, Lei and Cortés