Prefectures of Nagasaki and Osaka Still Interested in Hosting Integrated Casino Resorts Despite Recent RFP Phase Delays

The authorities in the Nagasaki prefecture in Japan have revealed that they still intend to launch this summer the request-for-proposal (RFP) process aimed at identifying and assessing possible private-sector partners that are fit to operate an integrated casino resort.

According to the governor of Nagasaki, Hodo Nakamura, the prefecture authorities hope that they would be able to select a partner by the winter of 2020.

In Japan, the term integrated resort (IR) refers to a large luxurious leisure complex featuring not only a casino but also a variety of other spaces and services, along with tourism facilities. The country’s Government has revealed that, at first, three such integrated casino resorts are set to be permitted as part of Japan’s first phase of gambling market liberalization. After the selection of a private-sector partner, local governments will have to submit their projects to the national authorities to be considered.

Nagasaki prefecture has previously confirmed its interest in hosting such a venue on a piece of land situated at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo city. As confirmed by the local government, the authorities had recently concluded a three-week period of what it referred to as explanatory sessions aimed at explaining the requirements which the community has to integrated casino resorts. For the time being, no further information on the discussed topics or the entities involved in the sessions was revealed, with the IR promotion spokesperson citing commercial confidentiality provisions.

Osaka Expected to Unveil RFP Deadline for Interested Casino Operators

Another site that has been considered a possible home to an integrated casino resort is Osaka. The prefecture has announced that the deadline for casino operators to submit their proposals for integrated casino resorts is being postponed once again.

Earlier in June, the mayor of Osaka, Ichiro Matsui, revealed that the city would probably need to extend the deadline for the request-for-proposal phase due to the travel restrictions that were imposed after the coronavirus outbreak. This information was confirmed by the prefecture government yesterday, with Osaka officials sharing that, for the time being, there is no RFP deadline, with the prefecture set to wait to set an exact date until the Federal Government rolls out its final Basic Policy, which will set the procedure for the three integrated casino resort licenses and the rules regarding the regulation of their operations.

The Japanese Government is expected to officially release its National IR Basic Policy by July 26th, 2020.

Previously, Osaka authorities had shared intentions to see an integrated casino resort open in time for the 2025 World Expo that is to be hosted by the city. Considering the recent delays, the casino resort is more likely to start operation in 2027/28. Before the Covid-19 infection outbreak that led to global and domestic businesses fully shut operations, Osaka had informed the interested casino operators that they should have sent their proposals by the end of April 2020. However, with the pandemic affecting various aspects of economy and business, the request-for-proposal deadline was extended to July by the prefecture, and the final date for the process is yet to be determined.