Japan Reveals Date for Casino Management Commission

  • Japan sets up the Casino Management Commission
  • Five officials to be appointed and given a five-year term
  • Brands shift interest out of Osaka and closer to Tokyo/Yokohama

Japan has announced date for the instauration of the Casino Management Commission that will oversee the arrival of the first integrated resort (IR) project in the country.

Japan to Inaugurate Gambling Commission in January

Preparing for a launch of its casino industry, Japan is going to establish the country’s preliminary gambling commission on January 7, 2020, a new ordinance adopted on Friday, October 18 revealed. The so-called Casino Management Commission (CMC) will operate under the Japan’s Cabinet Office appointed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government.

Before officials are appointed to run the Commission, the National Diet – Japan’s parliament – will have to vet the candidates. A total of five people will be elected as members and each will serve a five-year term, based on the information published on Friday.

Overseeing the Integrated Resort

The Commission will be tasked with various activities related to the upcoming Integrated Resort (IR) project coming up in 2024/2025. As per the available information, the CMC will make sure that all security measures are upheld, and that all operators have gone through the necessary background checks.

The CMC will also be responsible of probity. As per current plans, Japan will run with three integrated resorts to begin with. Only one will arrive in 2024/2025, however, with bidders from multiple regions in Japan already pushing to secure the inaugural project. Three brands will be allowed to open casinos within the resort, and gambling will likely be banned for local residents.

In September 2019, Japan’s lawmakers agreed on a common framework that would allow a region to successfully apply. Some of the measures included:

  • A list of private-sector partners
  • Financial benefits for the region
  • Addressing potential gambling harm issues

Prefectures and international businesses have already shown interest in investing significant capital and building the country’s first – or any – integrated resort. The Japan Tourism Agency is tasked with selecting the sites as well as the operators.

Global Brands Signal Interest

The businesses to signal interest and to already have joined talks with different prefectures and government officials include:

  • Galaxy Entertainment Group LTD
  • Genting Singapore Ltd
  • Hard Rock International
  • Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment
  • Rush Street Gaming
  • Las Vegas Sands Corp (to bid for another prefecture)
  • Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd
  • MGM Resorts International
  • Wynn Resorts Ltd (to bid for another prefecture)
  • Caesars Entertainment (no longer bidding)

However, the past few months have proven fraught for some. Caesars, one of the companies not on this list any more, reconsidered in August, and dropped out of the race. Caesars Entertainment is currently being acquired by Eldorado Resorts, which has prompted the company to take an inward look at itself and put overseas activities at the backburner.

Another notable name from the list to leave was Wynn Resorts Ltd. Wynn was long-time thought as of the de facto tied for the first place with MGM for the integrated resort project. Responding to those developments, MGM reassured the Japanese government that it remained fully-committed to seeing a project through in Osaka.

Wynn followed in the footsteps of Las Vegas Sands Corp. which has also decided to relocate to Tokyo and Yokohama instead of Osaka.

Japan is promising to be one of the largest casino markets. Once it opens, analysts estimate that Japan’s casino business will generate $25 billion annually.

Image credit: Nikkei

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