Japanese Regional Governments Show Limited Desire To Host Casinos
Gambling operators made lavish proposals to enter the Japanese market and develop an integrated casino resort as market analysts pegged Japan to be a major rival to Macau – which is the biggest gambling hub in the world. Gambling operators are expected to compete heavily to obtain a casino license which will be made available soon.
What is surprising is that a recent Kyodo News Agency poll, showed that only 3 out of the 47 prefectures and 20 cities eligible to bid on a new integrated resort casino locations are interested in hosting an integrated casino resort.
In a survey conducted from November to December of last year, the Kyodo News Agency contacted all of the prefectures and cities allowed to make bids. Only Wakayama and Nagasaki Prefectures among the approved prefectures said they would be interested, while Osaka city indicated their interest among the cities.
According to the Kyodo News Agency, 40 of the regions responded and confirmed that they did not have any plans to apply. Most of them are reluctant to let an integrated casino resort be built in their region mainly because of concerns about public safety. Critics of the Integrated Resorts Implementation Act say that the establishment of casino resorts could lead to an increase in problem gambling and many regions seem to agree.
The Integrated Resorts Implementation Act needs the local government of the region to make a formal resolution that they are willing to host a casino resort. The resolution requires that the local governments must select their prospective business partners in the venture and have it approved by the national government. Only three licenses will be granted in the first wave of casino resorts.
Sitting On The Fence
There are several regions that are still on the fence though, with 17 local governments saying they are undecided. Nagoya City in Central Japan says that is positive about filing an application, but it is still in the process of scouting for potential locations in the area. There are also other local governments that are thinking about bidding. This includes the prefectures of Tokyo, Ibaraki and Hokkaido. The cities of Chiba and Yokohama are also indicating interest.
Meanwhile, Wakayama Prefecture is at an advanced stage with its proposal, with a recent announcement about host sites for a possible casino resort being considered. Plus, the local government recently received seven submissions from casino operators for proposed operations.
Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City are also at an advanced stage for their proposal. The two have already announced that they are already seeking commercial partners for building a casino resort.
Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world