A Special Body Will Choose an Osaka IR Operator

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The Japanese city of Osaka has said it’s close to coming up with an implementation policy that would allow it to select the developer of the future integrated resort project, hotels, shops, conference rooms and casinos. The Committee consists of seven members considered specialists in the gaming industry.

7-member Panel Is Choosing the Company to Develop the Large-Scale Casino 

Japanese lawmakers are close to issuing the first of three licenses for Japanese casino resorts. Yet to apply for the licenses, local authorities first need to find private companies ready to develop the resorts. That has to happen until 2021 when the government plans to launch the official procedure for obtaining a permit.

Only one prefecture will be shortlisted to build the first Integrated Resort (IR), and Osaka has just made the next step towards securing developing rights.

The local government made a statement that the casino resort’s future operator will be selected by a seven-member body consisting of financial auditors from big companies, experts on gambling problems, and some of Osaka’s government officials among others.

So far it has been announced that University Public Corporation Osaka’s chief director Yoshiki Nishizawa is going to be the chairman of the seven-member panel while Hiroshi Mizobata, head of Convention and Tourism Bureau in Osaka, was appointed as the vice-chairman of the committee. 

The news about the establishment of the selection panel was announced amid the preparations of the prefecture to start a request-for-proposal (RFP) process for operators who want to take part in the local bid for the rights to develop the project.

Osaka’s local authorities stated that by the middle of 2019 seven big operators had been competing for winning the right to develop Osaka’s casino resort to be built on the artificial island of Yumeshima in the Japanese prefecture on an area of 121 acres (49 hectares).

Yet, last month the local government admitted that only three of the competitors would remain until the end of the procedure. The companies in question are Galaxy Entertainment, MGM Resorts International and its partner ORIX Corporation, Group, as well as Genting Singapore.

A Long Way to Go Before Winning the Casino Licenses

It is important to note that the casino project became possible after a two-stage process of legalizing gambling in Japan. The first step was made in 2016 when the Japanese central government also called Diet passed a law authorizing casino gambling.

After that, in July 2018, lawmakers voted the so-called IR Implementation Bill, a law that officialized a big part of the regulations the current Japanese casino industry has to be following. However, the regulatory process has not been finished yet and changes are still to be made.

But even though the basic policy on integrated resorts has not been officially implemented by the Japanese government, local authorities in Osaka, and other prefectures, are starting the RFP process later this month.

It is expected the name of the winning operator to be revealed in June 2020, which ahead of the 2021 license application process.

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