The administration from Japan’s Wakayama prefecture has reached a deal to buy a privately-owned plot of land, to be earmarked for a casino resort. The land acquisition is to only move forward if the prefecture is selected by the national government to host a casino resort – or integrated resort (IR) as they are known in Japan – in the first wave of liberalisation in the country.
On Tuesday, the Wakayama Prefectural Assembly approved a supplementary budget to include an additional provision to fund the land purchase, according to GGRAsia’s correspondent in Japan.
The local government had announced last week it had reached a deal to pay JPY7.7 billion (US$70.8 million) for a 20.5-hectare (50.7-acre) plot of land on an artificial island known as Marina City.
According to GGRAsia’s correspondent, if the prefecture is selected to host a casino resort, the Wakayama local government plans to sell the land to the would-be casino operator by the same amount as the purchasing price, JPY7.7 billion.
The Wakayama prefectural government has been active in pursuing the opportunity to host a casino resort. Wakayama (pictured in a file photo) is located on the southern coast of Honshu island in Japan.
Under a proposal from the national government, Japan’s basic policy on IRs would – once fully formulated and published – allow eligible places, namely prefectures or ordinance-designated cities, to submit an IR plan for the first phase of market liberalisation, and make an application to the government in the period January 4 to July 30, 2021. The central authorities will allow a maximum of three IRs in a first phase of market liberalisation.
Several international casino operators have indicated their interest in investing in Japan, with a number of prefectures and ordinance-level cities keen in hosting an IR.
In August, the IR Promotion Office of Wakayama prefecture told GGRAsia it planned to launch a request-for-proposal (RFP) process “soon after” the national authorities announce their basic policy on IRs.
The national government first made public a draft version of the basic policy in early September, but did not at that stage mention an application timetable for submission of IR proposals. Such proposed timetable was put forward in mid-November.
The Japanese government is said to be aiming to announce the finalised IR basic policy early next year, according to media reports.
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