Japan Casino Regulatory Commission seeking more funds
The Japan Casino Regulatory Commission (CRC), which is in charge of enforcing gambling regulations in the Asian nation, has appealed for increased government funding in order to carry out its responsibilities.
The regulator is insistent that the fiscal year 2023 be granted a budget of JPY 3.88 billion (US$27.7m). This presently exceeds budget projections by 10%, which may not seem like much, but is still a big increase. The Commission has provided an explanation for why its budget requirements are growing, and the reason is that the regulator is getting closer to finishing the first selection process, which should result in an integrated resort being approved.
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As a result of this, more staff members have been hired to reduce the backlog of work and increase the likelihood that an already time-constrained integrated resort will have the greatest possible chance of holding its grand opening sooner rather than later. But even when it has finished choosing a winner for the first round of bidding, the Commission will still need to remain operational in order to ensure that it monitors gambling throughout the business, particularly at IR properties. In addition, there will be other proposals submitted for a second and third resort.
Given that organizations are not pulling out of the market either, it is probable that the regulatory body will have even more tasks on its shoulders.
In 2018, the CRC was founded under the leadership of the late Shinzo Abe, who served as Prime Minister at the time and was an ardent advocate of the integrated resort idea.
With Abe’s unwavering support and the weight of his political influence, the National Diet of Japan was able to advance the Integrated Resort Development Act. However, after such a short period of time, the Commission is already in a financial bind. Integrated resorts, of which there are a total of three, have proven to be a huge challenge that demands significantly more resources and labor than what was initially anticipated to be required.
Both Osaka and Nagasaki are striving to be the first regions to undertake the mega-billion dollar project in their respective areas. They were the only two regions in Japan to take part in the IR bidding early this year. Both have similar goals: they want to add a major boost to the local economy and they want to leverage the revenue that organizations invest in infrastructure as a condition for entering the Japanese market.
On the other hand, these IR will be produced by regional as well as international businesses, who will collaborate in order to function under a unified bid. MGM Resorts International and Orix Corporation have entered into a partnership in Osaka with the intention of jointly realizing a project that could require as much as $9 billion in investment.
MGM and Orix each hold a 40 percent share in the business venture, and local investors control the rest 20 percent. The most recent proposal is for the construction of three hotels with a total of 2,500 guestrooms, 400,000 square feet of space dedicated to meeting and conference space, and a theater with 3,500 seats. MGM has not provided any specifics regarding its plans for the gaming floor as of yet. However, according to the national law, the gaming area can take up no more than 3% of the entire indoor floor area of an IR.
The IR bid submitted by Casinos Austria for $3.2 billion was the one that was chosen by the prefecture in Nagasaki. The intention of this project is to construct a casino resort in Sasebo City, which will be situated within the Huis Ten Bosch Dutch theme park.
The resort concept proposed by Casinos Austria features various hotels totaling more than 2,000 guest rooms, roughly 215,000 square feet of convention space, and a performance hall that can accommodate 6,000 attendees. A baseline of 2,000 slot machines and 200 gaming tables are planned to be available at the casino in Nagasaki, which would occupy an area of about 100,000 square feet.
In the meantime, it seems likely that the Commission’s request for additional funding will be granted, as the government is eager to see the integrated resorts initiatives become a reality.