Wakayama prepares to casino RFP in spring 2020


A new report finds that authorities in Wakayama plan to launch a request for proposal (RFP) process in the spring of 2020. This process will seek private sector partners who are interested in helping in the strategy and development of an integreated resort (IR) in the region.

wakayama-aims-at-casino-rfp-in-spring-2020-minThe plan was announced on December 10 in the prefectural assembly. According to reports, the plan was to start the RFP in the spring and to have chosen private sector partners by the fall of next year.

The IR basic concept was first announced by authorities in Wakayama in 2018. The goal was to create a resort-style project which will use the already abundant natural tourist attractions that exist in the region. This includes both Shirahama and Mount Koya.

A basic draft of the policy, which set the criteria for IR operators, was first announced in September. Now the plan is to finalize that draft by January 2020. Once this has been approved by the national government, it will be published with the goal of implementing the policy by the spring.

The plan clearly has a lot of support. At a December 3 assembly meeting, it was determined that it would cost Wakayama JPY7.7 billion (US$71 million) to purchase the ideal site for the IR. On Monday, it was announced that the Marina Casino Land was purchased as part of the deal with the Wakayama Prefecture.

According to the deal, the southern Honshu region will pay an estimated 7.7 billion yen ($70.8 million) for the 50.7 acre plot of land that is on the island of Osaka Bay. The deal also reportedly includes a small piece of land that is being sold for a future Las Vegas style development. This deal would only become finalized if Wakayama is chosen as one of the three sites that will receive a gambling license from the Japanese government.

Now, Wakayama awaits the decision of the national government. Their ability to launch the spring RFP will depend upon authorities at the national level completing the basic IR plan by January. Most expect the finalized basic policy to be announced by the end of March next year.

Currently, it is believed that nine separate regions are vying for one of the three casino licenses. The timetable for when the licenses will be approved has not been established, and none of the three may be issued before the end of 2022.