Officials in Japan have given the go-ahead for contentious plans to construct the nation’s first gambling resort. The casino complex will be erected in the western port city of Osaka, where prominent officials have pushed for its construction and rebuffed calls for a local vote. The casino complex will feature dining establishments, retail stores, and entertainment venues as part of a “integrated resort”.
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Osaka officials anticipate that the project, which would initially cost 1.8 trillion yen (£10.8 billion), will be finished in 2029. The city’s request was accepted after “sufficient examination from multiple perspectives,” according to Tetsuo Saito, the minister of infrastructure and tourism, who made the announcement on Friday.
In 2029, the facility will debut in Osaka, a city in western Japan.
In Japan, casinos have long been forbidden. However, a rule allowing exceptions to games like poker or baccarat was introduced in 2018 in an effort to increase tourism and generate jobs. Japan, which had previously been the only developed nation to forbid casinos, enacted legislation in 2016 to legalize the business, and the government later passed legislation allowing the development of integrated resorts.
After the 2018 law was enacted, a national survey was conducted, and 64.8% of participants opposed casino construction proposals, while 27.6% supported them. According to a poll conducted by the Nikkei business newspaper in April, 38% of Osaka locals opposed hosting the resort, while 45% supported it.
According to media sources, the Osaka complex would be managed by the Japanese division of MGM Resorts International and Orix, a financial services organization, along with roughly 20 local businesses.
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Some members of the public are worried about an increase in crime and gambling addiction.
The 5.3 million square foot (49 acres) project will also have a hotel, convention center, mall, and museum in addition to the casino. According to Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, “We expect (the casino) will turn out to be a tourism base that causes the promotion of Japan’s charms to the world.”
The project’s first investment is 1.8 trillion yen ($13.5 billion, £10.7 billion), and US casino operator MGM and Japan’s Orix Group each hold 40% of the business.
Local businesses including West Japan Rail, Kansai Electric Power, and Panasonic, based in Osaka, will own the remaining 20%.
As per the Japanese news service, officials anticipate the resort will draw about 20 million people a year and generate about 1 trillion yen in economic benefits for the area.
The project was first suggested years ago, but because of the Covid-19 outbreak and a corruption case involving a politician from the ruling party who was charged with accepting bribes while in charge of casino policy, it was put on hold.
Gambling is thought to have a bright future in Japan. With almost 126 million people, it has the third-largest economy in the world.
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Additionally, it is close to wealthy Asian gamblers, especially those from China. The only Chinese city where casinos are authorized in Macau.
The Nagasaki prefecture has made a similar proposal to construct a casino in Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park with a Dutch motif.
Source: Cosmo Politian