Authorities at Japan’s Wakayama prefecture plan to announce next week what is termed as the prefecture’s integrated resort implementation policy. The information was confirmed to GGRAsia by an official from the local government.
The term integrated resort or “IR” is used in Japan to describe large-scale casino complexes with supporting tourism infrastructure including hotels, meeting space, shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities. A maximum of three will be permitted nationally in a first phase of market liberalisation.
The Wakayama IR implementation policy will provide detail on the requested features for a casino complex in the prefecture. The document will also set the selection criteria for choosing a private-sector partner for the IR scheme, according to information collected by GGRAsia.
Local governments that meet the basic requirement for bidding for a casino resort – namely being either a prefecture-level or so-called ordinance-level city government – need first to find a private-sector partner or consortium of partners, then apply to Japan’s national authorities for permission to develop an IR.
The Wakayama prefectural government told us its IR implementation policy was aimed at promoting the development of a casino complex leveraging on the prefecture’s existing tourism resources, including natural landmarks, historic sites, availability of hot springs and unique food culture.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the parliament last month that his administration would still be pursuing IR schemes, as an economic stimulant aimed at boosting the country’s tourism business. That was despite an alleged bribery case involving a lawmaker, that stirred concerns in Japan, with the country’s opposition parties raising questions on how private-sector suitors for casino licensing in Japan might have sought to influence key public officials.
Japan’s national government had been expected to announce in late January the final version of its “basic policy” on the IR topic. It said late last month that it would now make that policy public only in February or March.
Japan’s national government also said last month that it would make public only in February or March its so-called “basic policy” on IRs. That was a delay to the originally-scheduled announcement in January. One reason for that was to to insert into the basic policy a new rule concerning communication between gaming-sector operators and government officials in Japan.
In its Thursday commentary to GGRAsia, the Wakayama prefectural government reiterated that it targeted to launch around “the end of March or beginning of April” a request-for-proposal (RFP) process seeking private-sector partners for a casino scheme.
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