The city council in Wakayama (pictured) in Japan has voted against allowing a referendum on whether the city and prefecture should pursue a scheme to have a casino complex.
The bid for a referendum – made in the form of an ordinance – resulted in a 28 to 9 vote on the 38-member council, against such a plebiscite, according to GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
An extraordinary session of the council, involving a debate and vote on the referendum topic, was held between January 24 and 27.
Wakayama’s mayor, Masahiro Obana, a supporter of the integrated resort (IR) policy, had said in an opinion submitted to the council that he was against the referendum idea.
He said there was already a formal procedure to allow a vote on Wakayama prefecture’s IR District Development Plan relating to the casino resort proposal. The mayor also stated that a referendum would be expensive for the city.
An anti-casino community group in Wakayama said in late November it had enough petition signatures from local voters for the right to ask the government for a referendum motion on whether the city should aim to host a casino resort.
In December, a Wakayama representative from Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) urged the prefecture’s governor, Yoshinobu Nisaka, not to start a community consultation on Wakayama’s IR District Development Plan until details of the project consortium and how it will be funded, had been made clear to the public.
There has not yet been an announcement by the local authorities on the project’s details.
Clairvest Neem Ventures KK is the chosen partner for the proposed creation of a casino resort in Wakayama. United States-based casino operator Caesars Entertainment Inc had in September said it would – albeit with “no capital commitment” – be a partner in the Clairvest Neem Ventures consortium.
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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