February 23, 2022 2 min read

Osaka Residents Push for IR Referendum, but Odds Extremely Long

A group of Osaka residents is going to collect signatures in order to call for a referendum regarding the planned integrated resort (IR) development of the prefecture and city. However, two elements are likely to cause it to fail to hit its mark. Wakayama already showed that calling for a referendum is futile. The residents will run their signature-gathering efforts well beyond the deadline for IR candidates to submit their proposals to the Japanese Diet.

IR Resistance is Futile

According to media outlet Nikkei, the citizen-led group will gather signatures over a two-month period, starting March 25 and running through May 25. They want to give local residents the chance to voice their opinions on the pros and cons of developing an IR. However, all IR proposals have to be submitted to the national government by April 28.

According to the group, it is seeking to collect approximately 200,000 signatures to petition for a referendum. This number is higher than the 150,000 required. After collecting the signatures, Hirofumi Yoshimura, governor of the Osaka Prefecture, will be asked for his approval to enact the ordinance. He will then consult with the Osaka Prefectural Assembly about the draft. That is the same process that was recently followed in Wakayama, and it did little good. Nikkei states that it is almost certain that the Assembly will reject the draft ordinance.

Wakayama Continues to Address Public Concerns

While Osaka residents figure out what to do next, Wakayama is moving forward into the last lap of the IR planning process. The prefecture will conduct two public hearings as well as 14 briefing sessions, all of which are open to local residents. The goal is to share the prefecture’s plans with the community to explain the benefits while addressing concerns locals may have.

Legislation relating to IRs calls for public hearings. Before the prefecture submits its plans to the Japanese government, these hearings are required.

One of the concerns is how costs will be covered. Clairvest Neem Ventures KK is Wakayama’s private-sector partner and is responsible for raising JPY470 billion ($4.09 billion) to cover its costs in the project. However, repeated calls to show where the money will come from have not been sufficiently answered.

Clairvest will control 55% of the stake, while Caesars Entertainment has agreed to take 5%. The remainder will be controlled by a consortium of investors. However, details of that breakdown still aren’t available.


Erik brings his unique writing talents and storytelling flare to cover a wide range of gambling topics. He has written for a number of industry-related publications over the years, providing insight into the constantly evolving world of gaming. A huge sports fan, he especially enjoys football and anything related to sports gambling. Erik is particularly interested in seeing how sports gambling and online gaming are transforming the larger gaming ecosystem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.