Japan’s unique IR bidding process

On August 1, the Experts’ Committee formally handed over its report to the government. This 130-page Japanese-language document is expected to form the basis of the forthcoming IR Implementation Bill. Among other things, it outlines a bidding process which some industry sources have described as being unique in their experience.

As it is envisioned in the report, it will be IR operators and local governments which will take the first steps together. Through their own processes, local governments will select an operator to work with, and together they will submit their combined proposals to the central government. It seems likely that only two or three proposals will be given the green light.

It is now envisioned that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will have the primary jurisdiction over Japan’s IRs, selecting the local areas that will be granted licenses and regulating the IRs once they are up and running.

The Casino Management Board (the formal English-language name is pending) will have the key role in licensing and regulating the casino element. This organization has been envisioned as an independent agency under the umbrella of the Cabinet Office.

Some international IR operators have already made complaints about this “two-stage” bidding process in which they must first win approval from a local government and then hope that their local partnership is accepted by the national government agencies. It does not appear, however, that the Japanese authorities are planning to change this aspect of the process.

It also seems doubtful that the Japanese authorities will respond proactively to the operators’ suggestion that each local bid should be considered according to a staggered schedule, allowing everyone to know the outcome of each local government’s bid before moving on to the next one. Present evidence suggests that it will be something of a free-for-all at the first stage, with local governments and IR operators making their own arrangements in their own unique ways, and then coming to the national government, more-or-less simultaneously, in hopes of being licensed.

However, the current proposed bidding model will go through a process of public and parliamentary scrutiny before it is enacted, and so significant changes are still possible.


More news from this jurisdiction

JapanMonday, Aug 21, 2017

The Osaka prefectural and city governments used the public hearing held on Friday to lobby for business-friendly changes to casino regulation found in the proposed central government plan.

JapanFriday, Aug 18, 2017

Public hearings on the IR Implementation Bill began on Thursday with the first event held in the Cabinet Office building complex in central Tokyo.

JapanTuesday, Aug 15, 2017

The Japanese government is in the process of revising the Civil Code in order to lower the age of adulthood from 20 to 18-years old. However, it has reportedly been decided that this change will not be applied to gambling.

JapanMonday, Aug 14, 2017

The ruling coalition Komeito party remains divided over whether or not to support the forthcoming IR Implementation Bill, according to several reports in the Japanese news media.

JapanThursday, Aug 10, 2017

On Tuesday, the Kansai Association of Corporate Executives issued a public appeal regarding the concepts that they hope will guide the development of the prospective IR to be established at Yumeshima in Osaka.

JapanThursday, Aug 10, 2017

From August 17 to August 29, nine public hearings regarding the forthcoming IR Implementation Bill will be held around the country.

JapanWednesday, Aug 09, 2017

MGM Resorts has announced the appointment of former Charge d'Affaires, United States Embassy Tokyo, Jason P. Hyland as the representative officer and president of MGM Resorts Japan.