Japan Could See a Delay in the Scheduled Assessment and Approval Process of Integrated Casino Resorts Due to Covid-19 Crisis

Now, with the National Diet of Japan focusing on the deteriorating coronavirus crisis, the timeline for the country’s government to assess and approve the first integrated casino resorts of the nation has been overshadowed.

According to plans, proposals for so-called integrated casino resorts are set to be submitted by the local governments with interest to host such a resort from January to July 2021, and the final approval for the three IR projects set to follow afterward. However, considering the economic damage that has already been caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on a global scale so far and the fact that it remains unclear for how long the situation will last, it is still unknown whether the original schedule would be kept.

The front-runner for hosting one of the three integrated casino resorts in Japan, Osaka, has recently revealed that it was to extend the window for proposals for three months. The decision for the extended deadline came after the only bidder to develop such a resort in Osaka asked for such a delay because of the negative impact that MGM’s casinos face on their domestic market and on a global scale.

As a result, Osaka made a revision to the schedule and the land that is set to host the future integrated casino resort would be turned over to the winning bidder in the spring of 2022, which is six months later than the deadline that was initially planned. At first, Osaka was willing to see an integrated casino resort operational during the 2025 Osaka Kansai Expo but considering the situation, the prefecture is likely to see it opened by no later than March 2027.

Wakayama Officials Say They Could Re-Adjust to Possible IR Delay

Wakayama officials, on the other hand, still remain hopeful that a desired integrated casino resort would be operational in the city in the spring of 2025, just for the start of the Osaka Expo. The prefecture has already started accepting proposals from operators that are interested in establishing such a resort there.

A special committee that is set to review the proposals was set at the end of March, and the proposal is expected to be selected by November 2020. Approval is expected to be given by the central government by the autumn of 2021.

The Governor of Wakayama said at the beginning of the week, that the central government of Japan has said that its schedule would not be altered for the time being. If the schedule for proposal, assessment and construction of the integrated casino resorts remains the same, Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka explained that the local authorities should start the request-for-proposal process, they would not be on time as it was initially planned. He also shared that the local governments are ready to re-adjust to the central government’s decisions in case there is a delay in the planned schedule.

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