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Japan – Wakayama receives 33 submissions as Yokohama’s residents say ‘no’

By - 5 September 2018

A total of 33 companies have submitted proposals for a casino in the Japanese prefecture of Wakayama on Japan’s south central coast.

Wakayama officials have said they want a casino group to develop a resort on Marina City, a 40-hectare, artificial island which would offer 2,500 hotel rooms, and convention space. The island already boasts hotels and a theme park.

Located in the Kansai region, on Honshū island’s Kii Peninsula, the region’s municipal authorities launched an RFI process in June which was concluded at the end of August. Of the 33 companies reported to have submitted blueprints for developing an IR before the deadline, seven are international companies.

It is believed that 15 international operators were represented at the June briefings so half of them submitted proposals.
Whilst officials in Wakayama are, like everyone else, waiting to find out the location of Japan’s first three Integrated Resorts, it said the aim of the RFI process was ‘to widely hear ideas, from domestic and overseas entities, regarding the resort-type IR which Wakayama Prefecture aims to introduce.’

Wakayama’s Governor Yoshinobu Nisaka has previously said that it has been told by the central government that it is well positioned for one of the three licences.

The situation in Yokohama has though taking an unexpected turn with residents overwhelmingly saying ‘no’ to casino gaming in the city in a recent survey conducted by the city’s government. It claimed 94 per cent voiced a negative opinion.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications carried out the survey between May 14 and June 22 in Japan’s second-largest city by population.

The city was believed to be one of the front runners to land one of Japan’s initial three casino licences.

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