Macau (MNA) – The selection of sites to host Integrated Resorts (IR) in Japan is unlikely to be finalised by mid-2020, a professor and advisor to Japan’s Government on the IR Implementation Bill, Toru Mihara, told Macau News Agency (MNA).
‘The purpose of the implementation of the law is defining procedures for sites,’ said Mr. Mihara.
Last week, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner Komeito have reached an agreement on 11 key policies that will integrate the IR Implementation Bill to be submitted to parliament this month, Japanese media reported.
It was decided that the initial number of casinos would be limited to three – less than the five or six that have been suggested by the LDP.
Mihara added, however, that if the law passes this summer – the current parliament session runs until June 20 – there will still be need to wait for the creation of the casino control commission, which he believes may take a year to be formalised.
Therefore, ‘fundamental policy on selection of site by the Minister of Infrastructure is anticipated in spring of 2020,’ he claimed, adding that tender by local governments to choose investors will only commence afterward.
‘The bill stipulates that before local government applies for approval on designated zone, they have to choose potential investor and together with them, they have to present to the Ministry a plan for implementation of IR,’ said Mr. Mihara.
The advisor insisted that the whole process ‘takes time,’ and that the selection of sites proper can take to one or one and a half year, claiming that there is ‘no guarantee of whatsoever on sites until the Minister selects three.’
The gaming specialist argued further that there is ‘no fixed scenario’ for the selection, which he claims will be done in ‘fair competition.’
‘Nothing has been fixed for sites except that some cities are already raising their hands,’ said Mr. Mihara.
Osaka has been pointed as one of the frontrunners. Other contenders are Hokkaido, Yokohama, and Tokyo.
Points on the bill
Another crucial point on the bill decided last week includes the entrance fee for Japanese visitors, which was set at ¥6,000 (US$56/MOP452.99) per visit, with the number of casino visits capped to no more than three times a week with a maximum of 10 visits a month.
The coalition also agreed on a flat tax rate of 30 per cent on casino revenue, lower than the Macau SAR’s current 40 per cent tax rate.
In addition, floor space of casinos to be positioned inside of Japan’s IR has been capped at 3 per cent of total area of resorts.