Wakayama City Council gives first OK to IR bid

The prefectural government hopes to open an integrated resort by 2026.
The prefectural government hopes to open an integrated resort by 2026.

The Wakayama City Council has given its approval to plans to apply to host an integrated resort.

Japan.- The Wakayama City Council has voted to give its approve for an application to be submitted to national government for an integrated casino resort. The Wakayama prefectural council must also approve the urban plan before it can be submitted. So far, a prefectural special committee has approved the plans.

The prefecture’s chosen private sector partner, Clairvest Neem Ventures, will raise JPY470bn (US$4.09bn) to invest in the integrated resort, which the prefectural government hopes will be open by 2026.

April 28 is the last date for local governments to submit proposals for casino resort rights to the central government. Up to three IRs may be allowed across the country under the existing liberalisation plan. Nagasaki and Osaka are also currently likely to submit corresponding casino resort applications.

Yesterday, the Osaka prefectural council voted in favour of its IR district development plan. At the final plenary meeting of the current session of the council, Osaka Restoration and Komeito members, which together have 58 out of 83 seats, voted in favour of the IR Regional Development Plan.

The prefecture’s operator partner, the MGM-Orix consortium has proposed to invest JPY1tn (US$9.1bn) in the planned IR. The proposed site is an artificial island: Dream Island, in Osaka Bay. The project has a target date of opening in 2029.

Japan’s prime minister reaffirms position in favour of IRs

Prime minister Fumio Kishida has reiterated his belief that opening up a casino industry in Japan could boost inbound tourism as the country finally looks to attract foreign tourists following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Tetsuo Saito, Japan’s minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism has said the government will set up a panel of experts to review plans submitted by prefectures that want to host IRs. The panel will include consideration of economic benefit calculations, prospects for the financial stability of such schemes, and certainty of funding.

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