As Japan edges closer to launching its first integrated casino resort, the name of Machio Kitamura has been suggested as a chair of the Casino Management Committee to oversee the project.
Committee Nominees Suggested, Approval Awaited
Japan is moving closer to establishing its first Integrated Resort (IR) ca 2024/2025, and with that, the country has already nominated members for its casino regulatory body. Following up on plans announced in October, Japan’s government is now looking to strengthen control over the burgeoning gambling industry.
According to the official release last month, the so-called Casino Management Committee must be installed by January 7, 2020.
The first nominee was announced on Wednesday, November 13, with Machio Kitamura elected chairman of the regulator which first order of business would be to help the IR project come to fruition. Japan is also determined to learn from Macau insofar as the IR project is concerned.
An Insider on the Job
Mr. Kitamura is not a random pick. He has already worked as an inspector general of legal compliance within the Japan’s Ministry of Defense, and held various other positions as High Prosecutor’s General in Sendai and Fukuoka.
Aged 67 and with a fair experience under his belt, Mr. Kitamura appears to be the ideal candidate for the job, as legal challenges will arise in the coming years. While he is also the elected chairman, Mr. Kitamura has yet to await the national parliament, the Diet, to confirm his appointment.
The process shouldn’t take longer than December 9 when the current legal session expires. When the decision is confirmed, Mr. Kitamura will officially step into his new position and serve a five-year term.
Other nominees include Hiroyuki Ujikane from the National Tax Agency’s Nagoya Regional Taxation Bureau, Noriko Endo from the Keio University and Tateshi Higuchi, a now retired superintendent general for the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.
Challenges Ahead of the Committee
The first objective of the newly-installed regulatory committee would be to run probity and background checks and establish the credibility of applicants and all parties involved.
Furthermore, the Committee will seek to introduce measures that would create a framework for gambling assistance to individuals who are at a risk of developing gambling addiction.
The country is planning on introducing three resorts as the first phase to opening its market for gambling. The current government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been key to liberalize gambling in Japan, but still an IR framework is expected to be developed and approved.
This will most likely happen in Q1 2020, even though a draft has already been introduced in September. Based on this framework, applicants will know what specific conditions they must meet. So far, brands interested in constructing the first resort in Japan must be prepared to spend north of $12 billion and find a partner in a local prefecture.
Meanwhile, the Japan Tourism Agency has been tasked with running certain aspects of the upcoming industry, but more will be known in the first half of 2020.