The city council in Osaka (pictured) in Japan voted on Thursday against allowing a referendum on whether the city should pursue a plan to have a casino complex.
The bid for a referendum was made in the form of an ordinance, submitted by the local branch of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Members of the Osaka Restoration Group and of the Komeito Osaka – which make up for 58 of the 83-seat council – voted against the draft ordinance, according to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
Osaka’s city council and the prefectural assembly are now expected to vote on the prefecture’s draft District Development Plan involving an integrated resort (IR) during their respective regular sessions, which will run until late March.
Osaka’s draft plan regarding a casino resort in that metropolis has set the target opening date for such a facility as either the autumn or winter of 2029. The Osaka government plans to submit in April its proposal to the national government.
The plan, published in December, confirmed that United States-based casino group MGM Resorts International and its main consortium partner Orix Corp would each have a 40 percent equity stake in the scheme. About 20 Osaka firms – including railway operators Kintetsu Group Holdings Co Ltd, and Hankyu-Hanshin Holdings Inc – would hold a combined 20 percent stake.
The initial investment amount for the complex was confirmed at JPY1.08 trillion, i.e., about US$9.5 billion. According to the draft plan, the business licence would be valid for 35 years, with the possibility of being extended for a further 30 years. The resort, to be located on Yumeshima island, in Osaka Bay, would provide employment for 15,000.
The Japanese government opened on October 1 the application period for local authorities to pitch as host for a casino resort in that nation, and announced the weighting it will give when scoring such requests. The application period runs until April 28.
Under the liberalisation programme, up to three resorts will be permitted nationally. Currently, only three local communities are in the running for hosting a large-scale IR. They are Osaka and Nagasaki, as well as Wakayama.
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