Only 3 Japanese Governments Confirmed IR Interest

Newly incorporated Japanese casino law has fully regulated casino gambling in this country…

…after the Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill was approved by officials last June. But, only three locations showed the interest to host integrated resorts on their land, although 67 prefectures and cities in total are eligible to do the same, but still don’t want to.

A Compromise Solution

According to the law, gambling is allowed only in so-called “integrated resorts,” (IR). The expression is invented to mask their real purpose, which is gambling. The resorts offer casinos along with hotels, as well as entertainment and conference facilities.

This legislation of gambling resorts was in the making for almost two decades because the government was concerned about gambling addiction development among Japanese wagers.

Lack of Interest for Gambling

Each government that wants to participate has to submit their application in writing, where they should indicate a plan on how their IR will operate and which casino operator will be in charge of the betting in the venue.

But, the newest survey shows that only Osaka, Wakayama and Nagasaki applied for hosting the IR under their jurisdiction.

Kyodo News Agency recently made a survey stating that 40 local Japanese governments have no plans to apply for the permit, while dozens more are reluctant because they are concerned for the public safety.

Potential Hosts

Besides Osaka, Wakayama, and Nagasaki, Aichi Prefecture city of Nagoya will probably apply but currently is in the process of finding just the perfect spot for the IR.

Some other Japanese governments that are showing their interest in this matter are Tokyo, Obaraki Prefecture, Hokkaido

…and the cities Yokohama and Chiba.

Meanwhile, around 17 Japanese local government haven’t decided their next move when it comes to the establishment of integrated resorts in their area.

IRs Worth the Wait

Although the IRs won’t be opened yet because the expected waiting time for legislation is five to six years, experts believe that gambling would be a great attraction for the tourists.

As stated in the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) report, there were around 31.19 million visitors in Japan last year…

…which is an incredible 8% increase in comparison to last year’s 28.69 million.

This is really great news considering that Japan went through two huge disasters last year.

“We suffered two disasters in September 2018. The first was Typhoon 21 that hit the Kansai region and the second was the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi earthquake,” said the director of Japan’s Global Strategy Headquarters, Tadashi Kaneko, during a press conference last Friday.

Casinos in the Race for the License

Ever since Japan announced the implementation of the newly regulated gambling law, many casinos applied to get the license on the islands. Casinos from all over the world have been in negotiations ever since the IR legislation was approved last summer hoping to win one of the three initial bids that have yet to be awarded.

Huge favorites, among the vast number of candidates, are Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts. The latter recently opened a new office in Osaka.

“We are making progress in discussions with Japanese corporations to form a consortium,“ Jim Murren, MGM Resorts’ chairman and CEO said.

“We will support Osaka in obtaining IR certification,” Murren added.


“Only 3 Japanese local governments have confirmed IR interest”,, January 28, 2019.

“Five things to know about Japan’s new casino law”,, July 20, 2018.

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