The government in the Japanese city of Yokohama (pictured) said on Monday it would announce in March the city’s draft basic policy on integrated resorts (IRs), as large-scale casino complexes with hotels, conference facilities and shopping and other entertainment are known in that country.
According to information collated by GGRAsia’s correspondent, there will be a period of public consultation on the draft policy, starting from March. The local government said additionally it expected to have a finalised version of the IR policy by June. The schedule was disclosed during a meeting on Monday of the Yokohama City Council.
Japan’s second-largest city intends to launch its private-partner selection via a request-for-proposal (RFP) once the finalised version of the IR is published in June.
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 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.
The Yokohama government said a fortnight ago 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. The committee will consist of seven people adjudged to be independent of the local government, but expert in matters related to IRs.
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of Resorts World Genting casino complex in Singapore; and Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, which has withdrawn from contention in Osaka. Companies like Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd and Wynn Resorts Ltd have also respectively announced a Yokohama focus in their campaign to win a Japan casino licence.
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"The casinos have to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The decision [to suspend casino operations] is up to the government. As of now, we don’t have any plan to change the existing regulations"
Lei Wai Nong
Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance