Public consultation on Nagasaki casino pushed back

By William Brown Updated
Public consultation on Nagasaki casino pushed back

The public consultation regarding Nagasaki prefecture’s plans for a casino result has been delayed until February 2022.

GGR Asia reports that the hearing was originally slated for the beginning of January.

The plan is now for a prefectural assembly vote in March, taking into account submissions for the public.

Casinos Austria International, Nagasaki chosen private-sector partner for an integrated resort, is still to provide details of the consortium setup and funding arrangements for its US$3.09 billion proposed scheme.

The prefecture’s draft of the district plan leaves those details out for the time being.

Assembly members recently asked questions of the prefectural government, including the impact of design changes to the resort concept.

The prefectural government understood those amendments to be “relatively minor” and believes the resort plan would keep its “consistency”.

The local government added in its commentary to assembly members, that in terms of consortium building and fundraising, Casinos Australia International had been “making a full effort”.

The local authority recognised however, that without those elements in place, “the prefecture cannot go ahead with the process” of creating a casino resort.

The Japanese national government opened in October 1 the application period for local authorities to pitch as host for a casino resort and announced the weighting it will give when scoring such requests.

The closing date for applications is April 28, 2022.

Up to three casino complexes will be permitted in Japan under liberalisation plans.

Citizens call for halt to casino plan

A Nagasaki citizens’ group visited the Prefectural Assembly in early December, submitting a petition asking the City Council Secretariat to demand it take measures to halt the application.

The contents of the petition claim a lack of transparency in the basis of the economic effect estimates of an integrated resort as described by the prefecture and that integrated resort operations should not be run by the government due to reasons such as the inability to eliminate the risk of problem gambling.

The petition will be put on the Prefectural Assembly agenda and examined by the General Affairs Committee.

The citizens’ group collected 5,041 signatures.

Claims posted on the website of this anti-IR group state: “Many citizens oppose attempts to facilitate economic growth through risk of increase in gambling dependency, poor influence on the local society and youth and using antisocial industries.

“The point has been made that promotion of casinos is targeting the savings of Japanese people just to make the foreign casinos richer.”

It also states: “The local governments are being drawn in by the temporary creation of jobs, but we absolutely cannot accept something like taking the lead in an unwholesome and degenerate casino bid that will bring misfortune to so many people.

Games for new casinos revealed

Japan’s Casino Regulatory Commission has approved nine games, with traditional Japanese favourites such as pachinko, pachislot and mahjong notable exclusions.

The nine games within the draft regulations, published last Friday, include 21 variants of games currently banned in Japan, but set to be legalised as part of the government’s integrated resort plans.

The nine games are two types of baccarat, four types of blackjack, eight types of poker, Sic Bo, craps, Casino War, money wheel and pai gow, plus electronic games.

Public feedback on the draft regulations will be accepted until May 9, after which time final casino regulations will be decided.

The regulations also call for prior background checks on all major stakeholders and executives of casino and integrated resort operators to ensure “social credibility”.

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