The Osaka authorities will rate most highly the financial clout of a potential private-sector partner and the likelihood it can help create a sustainable casino resort business in that metropolis.
That is according to broad partner-selection criteria mentioned by the Osaka prefectural and city governments on Tuesday (December 24).
Such conditions are set out in the application requirements of the request-for-proposal (RFP) phase announced that day for the conurbation’s tilt at hosting an integrated resort (IR) as such mixed-used, large-scale casino complexes are known in that country. After forming partnership with the private sector, local governments will still need to apply to the national government for the right to host such a scheme.
The national government is likely to publish its so-called basic policy on IRs in the first quarter 2020 according to some commentators, but Osaka has been pushing ahead with its partner-selection process – for a site on Yumeshima island (pictured) in Osaka Bay – even before then. A maximum of three IRS will be permitted nationally in a first phase of market liberalisation.
Osaka’s RFP submission period will run from January 6 to February 14 next year, Tuesday’s announcement noted. The local authorities would then make judgements about candidates’ eligibility. A deadline for formal IR proposals would be in April 2020. In June that year, the Osaka governments would jointly select a private-sector partner for an IR bid to the national government in 2021.
The Osaka authorities have identified five main headings for evaluation of each RFP formal submission; with an aggregate of 1,000 merit points potentially available.
A would-be IR partner’s ability to implement the IR project; the manner in which it uses its casino-business revenue; whether it is likely to be able to make the IR project a stable business; and the perceived financial strength of such a partner, would in aggregate count for up to 300 points, according to Osaka prefectural government’s Tuesday announcement.
The overall concept for an Osaka IR plan offers a maximum further 260 points. A suitor’s potential for: creating a world-class meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) business; encouraging long-stay visitors; and creating a gateway for tourism elsewhere in Japan, would garner an additional maximum 200 points.
A bidders’ ability to contribute to local communities – including local employment – is given a 100-points weighting. How the suitor addresses so-called ‘gambling addiction’ issues and other social concerns would account for a maximum further 140 points.
The setting up of a seven-person committee to assess would-be IR operators was announced earlier this month by Osaka’s prefectural and city governments. The committee is being chaired by Yoshiki Nishizawa, the chief director of the University Public Corporation Osaka. The committee’s vice chairman is Hiroshi Mizobata, head of the Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau.
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