Japan has taken a major step forward in the development of its integrated resort industry after the government announced on Wednesday its Basic Policy, which sets the criteria for operator selection.
These are the overall guidelines that local municipalities looking to develop an IR will follow.
The policy proposal stipulates the five evaluation criteria items. They are:
1) Internationally attractive and competitive quality, size and design, with a clear concept.
2) Positive economic impact on tourism and the region.
3) Operating capacity and financial stability of IR operators.
4) Return of casino revenue to the local municipalities.
5) Effective measures taken to eliminate adverse effects of casinos, such as crime prevention and problem gambling countermeasures.
The key thrust of the criteria is international competitiveness and contribution to increasing foreign visitors to Japan.
Along with the Basic Policy, it was announced that public comments will be accepted from 4 September to 3 October 2019 to hear as many voices as possible. The opinions collected will be used as a reference with the government to publish the final Basic Policy in the first half of 2020.
This fall, IR regulations and the makeup of the supervisory body, the Casino Administrative Committee, will be discussed at an extraordinary session of the diet.
Japan’s first round of IRs will be limited to three locations across the country and candidate sites will be selected as early as Spring 2020, after which IR development can begin. It is predicted that most will open in the second half of next decade, although Osaka has not changed its goal of opening an IR before the 2025 World Expo.
Currently there are four local municipalities to have officially announced plans for an IR bid: Osaka, Wakayama, Nagasaki and Yokohama. Hokkaido is expected to join this list.
The announcement of the Basic Policy, which was delayed until after the election of the upper house in July, will likely accelerate the recruitment and selection of IR operators.