Osaka’s once bold plan to get an Integrated Resort (IR) casino up and running by 2025 now looks pretty doomed. The governor of the prefecture, Hirofumi Yoshimura, has confirmed that the process to move forward remains paused, and they’ll need to take the new situation of the world into account before moving forward again.
Yoshimura has confirmed no new progress on the prefectures Request for Proposal (RFP) process, whiuch has been officially paused since June. “Under the coronavirus situation, the process related to IR has been suspended from the time when previously the prefecture and city announced the postponement of the RFP submission deadline, on June 23,” Mr Yoshimura said.
While Japan is steadily flattening it’s Covid-19 curve, new cases are still springing up, and that’s made it difficult to proceed, he remarked. But the process will go ahead, and he noted that the city, prefecture, and MGM Resorts International, they’re only applicant at this point, all remain positive. At this point, they’ll wait and see how the rest of the pandemic plays out and wait on the basic IR policy of the Japanese national government before they move forward.
In July, we noted that with the ever changing world to account for, Japan has had to revise that Basic Policy several times now, and a final version of it may still be months away.
In the halcyon days of late 2019, when a draft of the policy might have looked fairly complete except for a few minor details, Osaka felt confident they could rush an IR to completion in time for their 2025 World Fair. And although it seems unlikely that travel restrictions from the pandemic will push that far out, the aftermath just might, making the details all the more important to get right.
Similarly, Yokohama recently announced its own delay for their IR process, partly due to the delay caused by a lack of Basic Policy. That means two of the biggest potential hosts of Japan’s 3 future IRs are now in a holding pattern, which experts say could mean no IR is completed until at least 2027.