Only Osaka, Wakayama, Nagasaki confirm IR intentions

Osaka, Wakayama, and Nagasaki—only these three prefectures are willing to openly admit that they will be making IR bids, according to a survey of all 47 prefectures and 20 designated cities conducted by Kyodo News in the latter part of 2018.

While other prefectures are likely to join the IR race this year, the Kyodo survey underlines once again that casino legalization remains a politically tricky topic for most local governments, and only three prefectures have overcome their political hurdles at the local level.

Aichi Prefecture might be the next to confirm interest. February 3 is the day of the gubernatorial election and incumbent Governor Hideaki Omura does not face a serious opponent. Nevertheless, even in this case Omura has opted to downplay his IR support until after he is safely reelected to a fresh four-year term.

The Kyodo survey found five other local governments—the prefectures of Tokyo, Hokkaido, and Ibaraki, and the city governments of Chiba and Yokohama—are willing to admit that they are actively considering IR bids.

All of the others answered either that they had made no decision or, in the case of 40 local governments, that they will definitely not be entering the IR race.