No longer interested
Kitakyushu’s mayor has announced that the city has withdrawn from the race to secure one of the three casino resort licenses available in Japan.
The city is located in the region of Kyushu. It already had three different private sector companies interested in securing an operating license on the basis of the city being selected as one of the three destination cities.
Four reasons given
Kitakyushu’s mayor outlined four reasons why the city had decided to withdraw from the race. The first reason was being unable to identify a suitable site. The risks associated with such a project was another reason, due to the number of large-scale facilities required by the government.
Kitakyushu’s mayor outlined four reasons why the city had decided to withdraw from the race
There was also a lack of public support for an integrated casino resort in the city. Finally, the city did not have enough time to properly prepare an application for a license and submit it to the national government.
Applications can be submitted from anytime now until July 30, 2021.
For a long time, concerns were raised about the lack of a suitable site in Kitakyushu. This did not stop a number of private groups from expressing interest in developing such a project. One of these companies suggested a site near the Kokura stations of the Japanese Railway Group in the north of the city.
An investment of at least $4bn was rumored to be pitched by private sector groups that expressed interest. There was no indication as to whether or not this planned investment sum was inclusive of land acquisition costs.
Local governments in the Kyushu region were more in favor of the casino license going to Nagasaki. This region has also received interest from three different suitors to date.
Impact of casino bribery scandal
The ongoing casino bribery scandal has been dampening the government’s efforts to develop legislation for these integrated casino resorts. As a result, the application process has yet to begin.
A number of government officials were arrested and questioned for allegedly accepting bribes from a gambling company based in China. The Japanese public has also been outspoken about its desire to not have these casino resorts in their country. This is mainly due to the perceived societal costs such resorts will carry.
However, the government is plowing ahead with plans to create these three integrated casino resorts due to the revenue they would generate.