Japanese government mulls decision to postpone IR bidding period

Japan Government deliberates revisions on Japan’s IR bidding period for local governments

Kazuyoshi Akaba, Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister, has confirmed at a press conference held on 30 June, that the federal government is reconsidering a decision made on the postponement of the IR bidding period for local governments to apply for an IR license in Japan. The original  January - July 2021 time frame may be delayed if travel restrictions throughout Asia continue to linger.

sigma igaming Japanese government mulls decision to postpone IR bidding period “While the new coronavirus is spreading, we are in contact with the local governments that are planning to make bids and endeavoring to confirm whether there will be any problems meeting the application period from January to July next year.” - Japan Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba.

Japan’s official bidding period was initially set for January 4, 2021, through to July 30, 2021. The timeline is now thought to be unachievable due to travel restrictions imposed throughout Asia to combat the spread of the virus, making collaboration between casino operators, prefectures, and local cities difficult.

Japan Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba, one of 19 ministers who sits on Abe’s cabinet, says his office wants to make sure there’s adequate time for interested prefectures to field casino resort proposals and properly select the most qualified bid.

“While the new coronavirus is spreading, we are in contact with the local governments that are planning to make bids and endeavoring to confirm whether there will be any problems meeting the application period from January to July next year,” Akaba expounded.

Bidding Process of the IR Casino License in Japan

Prefectures and host cities vying to win one of the three commercial IR casino licenses will have their submitted proposals from interested gaming companies and their development partners first reviewed. The prefecture and casino consortium will then propose the winning submission their scheme to the federal government.

The Japan Tourism Agency established by Akaba’s Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry, decides where the three integrated resorts will be located, with the decision guided by the federal government’s National IR Basic Policy law, which is set to be finalised and issued by July 26, 2020.

The Japan Casino Management Commission - in charge of regulating the casinos – in December, received an initial JPY6.4 billion ($59 million) budget.

The series of hiccups for Japan’s IR

Japan’s Wakayama operator selection date has been pushed back from November 2020 to January 2021. Read more here.

In line with this, along with the Wakayama prefecture are the Osaka prefecture/city, Yokohama city, and the Nagasaki prefecture - the four regions openly in the running to develop one of three integrated resorts nationwide - all of which have confirmed delays to their schedules.

The largest casino company in the world, Las Vegas Sands, had initially planned to develop a US$10 million resort in the country, eyeing areas around Tokyo, especially city of Yokohama, and had announced its withdrawal in May.

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