Nagasaki is a Japanese casino dark horse
The competition to host a casino resort in Japan is stiff.
Casino Buzz reports there are seven contenders vying to host a casino in Japan.
There were eight cities, but Hokkaido pulled out of the race, citing environmental concerns.
Japan is planning to grant licenses to three contenders in its first phase of gambling expansion.
These three would need to be world-class luxury integrated casino resorts.
For investors and operators eyeing a casino license in Japan, it is going to be wild.
While the average expectation of cities is that investors come with a plan that involves minimum spends of 7 to 8 billion dollars, the city of Nagasaki is expecting an investment of up to $5 billion on its integrated resort project.
While it remains unclear which cities will be hosting a casino, it is reported there could be two big casinos, one each in two big cities and one reserved for a smaller town.
That is where Nagasaki comes into the fold.
It is looking to host a casino at Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo city located in the region of Kyushu.
It is reported that mayor Kenji Kitahashi is already in touch with prospective casino operators.
He is said to have contacted three investors interested in developing a casino in the city.
Nagasaki already has four gambling operators interested in a project in its city, which launched a request for concept procedure earlier this year.
While it received several applications, many pulled out.
Currently, four companies are interested in a casino in Nagasaki.
While one of the companies has voluntarily chosen to remain anonymous, the three companies that participated in the RFC are Current Corp, Casino Austria International Japan Inc and Oshidori International Development Ltd.
The Japanese casino gambling industry is expected to become the third largest after Macau and Nevada.
Japan flags casino tax for non-resident foreigners
The Japanese government is considering a plan to withhold taxes on winnings by non-resident foreigners at casino resorts, according to sources close to the matter.
The Japan Times reported earlier this month that the government is studying the tax system, because tracking down foreign nationals after they leave the country would be difficult.
The United States, South Korea and other nations employ a tax withholding system for winnings at their casinos, similar to the system Japan is looking to implement.
In the system, the government is also considering making it compulsory for casino operators to keep records of chip purchases and win-loss results.
Under the system, winnings at casinos will be taxed in a similar fashion to horse racing.
A tax will be levied on the difference between the value of the chips purchased and the amount of those converted back into cash.
The requirement to keep records of purchases and win-loss results is designed to prevent players from pretending the chips they won were ones they purchased or from leaving some chips with a friend inside the premises to reduce their winning amount.
The proposals will be included in the outline of fiscal 2020 tax reforms to be finalised by the ruling parties by the end of the month and implemented under tax system reforms after April 2021.
“If we do not decide on a certain framework in advance, it will affect the investment decisions of operators,” a government official said.
Japan plans to choose up to three locations at which to construct so-called integrated resorts – casino resorts that incorporate a large hotel, conference rooms and gambling areas.
The complexes are expected to start operating in the mid-2020s.
So far, Yokohama, Osaka and Osaka Prefecture, Wakayama Prefecture and Nagasaki Prefecture have declared their intention to bid.
Hokkaido recently pulled out of the race, citing local concerns about the project’s environmental impact, with many citizens also expressing unease over gambling addiction and other potential issues.