Japanese Gov. Accepting IR Applications From Local Governments Till April 2022
The national government of Japan has announced that local governments can submit their integrated resort (IR) proposal to host a casino in their respective prefecture from Oct 1, 2021 to April 28, 2022.
The local governments interested in applying for an IR in their city must select a local commercial partner who will be responsible for the IR.
The national government will go through each proposal and see how attractive and beneficial each proposal is before deciding on the three prefectures that will be selected to host an IR.
There were talks initially that Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, Nagasaki and Wakayama would be competing for an IR license.
There have been mixed views on legalizing casino gambling and moving forward with IR plans in Japan. This has resulted in a delay in rolling out casino gambling legislation and has caused some of the top casino operators in the world such as Las Vegas Sands Corp and Wynn Resorts to change their mind about wanting to develop an IR in Japan.
Tokyo and most recently Yokohama appear to have also changed their mind of pursuing an IR. Yokohama under the previous government was keen on hosting an IR but a recent election saw Takeharu Yamanaka come to power. Yamanaka and his government have been anti-IR from the start and an official statement confirming Yokohama dropping out from the IR process is expected before the end of the month.
Three Potential Locations
With Tokyo and Yokohama dropping out of the race, it now appears that there are only three prefectures that are going to apply for an IR permit. Osaka is the most attractive location of the lot as it is now the only big metropolis vying for an IR. Osaka is the 3rd most populated city in the country and is likely to go with MGM Resorts International who has partnered with local operator Orix Corp.
Wakayama is adjacent to Osaka and is keen on hosting an IR. The prefecture announced last month that it had partnered with Clairvest Neem Ventures Co Ltd while Nagasaki has announced that it will proceed with an IR application in partnership with Casinos Austria International Japan Inc.
Gaming analysts say that as of now there is no confirmation if the national government will approve all three IR locations or it will approve only one or two. The final decision will be based on the quality of the proposal and what it brings to the table.