Nagasaki says Japan govt mulling 6-12mth IR calendar delay

The Nagasaki authorities say that Japan’s national government is considering delaying – by between six and 12 months – the period to accept proposals for the development of integrated resorts in the country.

A total of three casino resorts will be permitted nationally in a first phase of liberalisation. The policy has been presented as a form of stimulus for regional economies, in terms of drawing in tourists from overseas.

It had previously been mentioned in commentary by the central authorities that local governments – with a selected private-sector partner – would be expected to apply in the first half of 2021 to the national government, for the right to host a casino resort, or integrated resort (IR) as they are known in Japan. A sticking point there is that the national policy for IR development has not yet been published, making it hard for suitors to be sure of the ground rules for bids.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the recent installation of a new prime minister in Japan are likely to have affected the timetable for introducing IRs, some industry commentators have said.

During a Monday meeting of the Nagasaki prefectural assembly, local authorities stated that, according to information collected from a number of sources – which were not identified – it was to be expected that the national government would delay by up to 12 months, the period during which local governments could deliver their IR proposals.

The Nagasaki authorities added that, according to a survey conducted by the prefecture among casino operators, a large majority of the businesses contacted supported Nagasaki’s decision to pause its request-for-proposal (RFP) process for a tilt at hosting a casino resort.

Nagasaki’s RFP process for a casino resort has been postponed indefinitely, a local official confirmed to GGRAsia on September 1. A piece of land at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park at Sasebo, within the prefecture, has been earmarked for an IR, should Japan’s central government approve one for Nagasaki.

In early September, three companies that had separately confirmed to GGRAsia they would take part in Nagasaki’s RFP process concerning a casino scheme said their plans had not changed.

During Monday’s meeting, it was also announced by the Nagasaki prefecture the setting up of a body to develop measures to tackle potential social issues arising from the opening of a casino resort in the prefecture, namely related with gambling addiction, safety and security.