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Japan’s cabinet approves casino resorts plan

Fri, Mar 29, 10:31am by Staff Writer

Japan’s cabinet has approved standards for casino resorts due to be built by the mid-2020s, requiring them to contain hotels far larger than those that currently exist in the country, along with conference rooms and exhibition halls.

Japan Today is reporting that following Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, hotels will be required to secure more than 100,000 square metres for guests rooms.

Local governments aiming to invite such resorts to their municipalities will need to cooperate with business operators capable of making investments of that scale.

The government made the standards public last months will aim to see the first batch of integrated casino resorts open at three locations by the mid-2020s.

Japan will aim for casino resorts of “unprecedentedly large scale and high quality,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a government meeting on the issue prior to cabinet approval.

The scale requirement for hotels was based on the size of overseas casino resorts built in the past decade.

The average sized Japanese guest room will require 50 square metres of space, with such a hotel necessitating 2,000 rooms, exceeding the average of 1,500 at there major luxury Tokyo hotels.

As for the sizes of conference rooms and exhibition sites, operators will need to fulfill one of three combined numerical criteria, which include a convention centre that accommodates 3,000 people with a 60,000 square metre exhibition space.

Strict requirements on ads and floor space at Japanese casino resorts

Tokyo Big Site currently has the largest exhibition floor space of 95,000 square metres and the largest conference halls, which are in Tokyo and Yokohama hold around 5,000 people.

The maximum floor space for casinos should be three per cent of the total space for the integrated resort.

Outside the facility, casino ads can only be displayed at international terminals of airports and seaports.

Entry will be free to international visitors but cost US$50 for residents of Japan, who will also be limited to three visits a week and 10 per month.

Japan passed its IR (Integrated Resort) Promotion Act in July 2018, with the IR Promotion Council working diligently to create a framework that would help control the activity and prevent problem gambling.

Integrated resorts were first developed in Las Vegas, in an attempt to draw in more people.

More recently Singapore has used integrated resorts to revive its tourism sector, employment picture and economy.

Its success has attracted the attention of lawmakers in other countries, including those in Japan.

A government casino management commission, which is planned to be newly set up, will set detailed rules on how to operate the casinos.

Japan ended a ban on casino gambling by enacting the integrated resorts promotion law last July, with Abe’s government hoping that such facilities will lure more foreign visitors and boost regional economies outside Tokyo.

The legislation creates a framework for the operation of casino resorts, following up on the integrated-resort promotion law of December 2016.

An initial three casino licenses will be issued with a 30 per cent gaming tax to be paid to the central and local governments.

A recent Kyodo News survey covering all of Japan’s 47 prefectures and 20 major cities that were eligible to host the newly legalised resorts found that only three areas – the prefectures of Osaka, Wakayama and Nagasaki – plan to apply for the government’s screening of host sites.

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