The government in the Japanese city of Yokohama (pictured) on Thursday said it would submit an ordinance to the city’s assembly to set up an independent selection committee to choose its private-sector partner for a tilt at a casino resort.
Such large-scale casino complexes are known in Japan as integrated resorts or “IRs”.
According to GGRAsia’s correspondent, the committee will consist of seven people adjudged to be independent of the local government, but expert in matters related to IRs.
The committee will subsequently report to the city assembly regarding its work.
A maximum of three casino resorts will be allowed in Japan in a first phase of liberalisation, and cities or prefectures qualified to have one will need to make a bid to the national government once they have chosen commercial partners for such schemes.
Yokohama city is due to announce its IR implementation policy by the end of March and to launch its partner selection via a request-for-proposal (RFP) process between April and December this year.
Yokohama city will have to prepare and submit an IR plan to the national government between January 4, 2021, and July 30 that year. Japan’s central authorities said last month they planned to stick to a previously-mentioned schedule for the application period during which local governments can seek the right to host a casino resort.
In late December it emerged that seven entities that are already gaming operators in their own right had submitted concepts to Yokohama regarding IR schemes.
Yokohama’s suitors included Genting Singapore Ltd, operator of Resorts World Genting casino complex in Singapore. On Tuesday that firm said it had won overwhelming approval from its shareholders to pledge up to US$10 billion in investment in pursuit of a casino resort project in Japan.
In other developments, on Wednesday Aichi prefecture announced it intended to extend the deadline of its request-for-information process – aimed at private-sector firms regarding a potential IR – from the end of March to the end of May. It began the process in December.
The extension was due to the delay of the announcement of the national government’s IR basic policy, said Aichi.
The RFI is reportedly for Aichi to determine whether or not to tilt at an IR. The governor, Hideaki Omura, said a decision on the matter would be made after April.
The potential site would be reclaimed land associated with the Central Japan International Airport – a facility also known as Chubu Centrair International Airport, Nagoya – which is owned by Aichi prefecture.
Matters raised by Aichi in its RFI included: the basic concept; market analysis; entire property plan; its economic impact; organisation for development and operation; and measures to enhance the attractiveness of the host area in relation to tourism.
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Executive director of Hong Kong-listed Summit Ascent, promoter of the Tigre de Cristal casino resort in Russia