Osaka City and Prefecture Suspends Request-for-Proposal Phase for Casino Integrated Resort Operating License

The governor of the Osaka prefecture, Hirofumi Yoshimura, has confirmed to the media that the process associated with getting an operating license for an integrated casino resort as large casino, hospitality, and entertainment complexes are known in the country, was suspended at the end of June in the prefecture and its associated urban metropolis.

As revealed by a GGRAsia’s correspondent in Japan, the prefecture’s governor explained that the process related to integrated casino resorts has been suspended under the coronavirus pandemic situation. Back in June 2020, both the prefecture and the city of Osaka announced that the deadline for the so-called request-for-proposal (RFP) phase of the process would be postponed.

Mr. Yoshimura’s remarks on the matter came as part of a briefing for media that was held at the offices of the prefectural administration. He also noted that the existing circumstances, the Osaka prefecture and the city were both unable to proceed with the originally planned request-for-proposal phase of the application process for an integrated casino resort license.

The official also referred to the only applicant that was qualified to the metropolis’ request-for-proposal phase, saying that the local authorities and MGM Resorts International have kept their positive stances for the future development of an integrated casino resort in Osaka. MGM Resorts has pursued establishing a casino presence in Osaka along with a local partner, the Japanese financial services company Orix Corp.

Japan’s Casino Expansion Schedule Delayed amid Coronavirus Pandemic Unfavorable Effect to Economy

The GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent provided information that the Osaka prefecture and city will set up a new deadline for the request-for-performance phase after the country’s Government unveils its basic policy on the integrated casino resorts’ license application process. They are also expected to assess the impact that the coronavirus pandemic outbreak could inflict on such an enterprise.

Several gambling industry analysts have commented that the casino expansion in Japan is being held up because of the national government’s delay in publishing its basic policy on integrated casino resorts. Recently, the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has revealed that the Japanese authorities were considering to introduce some changes to the initially-announced schedule for licensing so-called IRs in the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact.

Osaka is not the only destination where the original plan for the request-for-proposal phase has been delayed. Earlier in August, the mayor of Yokohama, which is another city willing to host an integrated casino resort, shared that the process of issuing a local implementation policy is to be delayed for an indefinite period because of the lack of the national government’s basic policy on IRs.

The Japanese Government has revealed that a maximum of three casino resorts is set to be allowed in the country as part of the first phase of its gambling sector’s liberalization. The process of granting the three operating licenses, however, is now being delayed as the country is dealing with the unfavorable effect of the coronavirus pandemic and other challenges before choosing private-sector partners to run the integrated resorts.

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