With bid policy set, localities in Japan roll the dice on casino resort licenses

Japan Times -- Jan 26
In December, the central government finalized its basic policy for so-called integrated resorts (IRs) hosting casinos as well as shopping malls, hotels and other facilities.

The decision means localities interested in formally submitting their bid proposals now have a clear schedule of when they can do so, and a better understanding of what they can and can’t do during the selection process.

The bidding process begins Oct. 1 and will run until April 28, 2022, when a maximum of three locations will be selected.

What is the basic IR policy decided in December?

The policy is a series of basic standards for localities interested in submitting a bid proposal for their own local casino resort, and a basic outline of the rules local governments and interested casino operators will have to follow as they prepare their bid.

The central government had originally been expected to decide the policy in January 2020. However, in December 2019 Liberal Democratic Party Lower House member and casino proponent Tsukasa Akimoto was arrested in connection with a casino-related bribery scandal. Akimoto has since left the ruling LDP.

The novel coronavirus pandemic also forced casino operators to review their plans. So the government decided to revise the timeline for submitting IR project proposals, which originally had been between January and July of this year, to the new window.

The basic policy sets out the standards for determining what kind of proposals will be approved. These include the overall concept of the resort, which must include not only a casino area but also plans for international convention centers, entertainment and shopping facilities, exhibition halls and hotels with rooms and service that is internationally competitive.

- Japan Times