Japan’s central government is not likely to push back a previously set license application timeline for the country’s first integrated casino resorts, according to a recent research paper from consultancy firm Global Market Advisors LLC (GMA).
The research firm further noted that Tokyo’s participation in the bidding process for the right to host one of Japan’s casino resorts is “not a matter of if but when.”
Japan legalized casino gambling in late 2016. Casinos in the country can only be part of larger multi-purpose complexes known as integrated resorts. Japan’s central government has authorized the development of up to three such properties during the first phase of casino market liberalization.
Cities and prefectures interested to host one of Japan’s first integrated resorts must find a private-sector partner in order to be able to participate in the license application process.
The application window is expected to open in January 2021 and to run through July 2021. According to GMA, that timeline would remain in place despite the fact that Japan is currently in a state of emergency amid the global Covid-19 pandemic.
The consultancy firm noted that if the application process was to be pushed back, “it is less likely that the integrated resort champion, Prime Minister [Shinzo] Abe will be spearheading the project.”
Earlier this month, a minister from the central government told local media that they did not plan to change the application schedule.
GMA Expects Tokyo to Enter Race
GMA said in its recent paper that it believes “there are only six viable locations, with two of these – Nagoya and Tokyo – yet to formally raise their hands in the process.”
According to the consultancy firm, it is “not a matter of if but when” Tokyo would announce its participation in the bidding process. GMA said that this could happen by the end of the summer following the re-election of Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.
In addition, the consultancy firm pointed out that “the addition of Tokyo could cause several operators and prefectures to potentially rethink their strategy.”
Earlier this month, the city of Yokohama announced that it had decided to push back the process for the selection of a private-sector partner in its effort to host one of Japan’s first three integrated casino resorts.
The city is now set to publish its integrated resort implementation policy and the application requirements for its request-for-proposal process for integrated resort operators in August instead of June.
Yokohama’s Mayor, Fumiko Hayashi said that despite the delay, their new timetable still fits comfortably within the timetable set out by the central government.