Wakayama Prefecture Agrees Deal To Purchase Marina Casino Land

As it looks to win the right to host one of Japan’s upcoming trio of integrated casino resorts, it is reported that the government for Wakayama Prefecture has just approved an agreement that could see such a facility brought to its artificial island of Marina City.

According to a GGRAsia survey, the deal calls for the southern Honshu region to pay about 7.7 billion yen ($70.8 million) for a 50.7-acre private land plot on the island of Osaka Bay if it is chosen as a host for one of the three gambling-friendly venues in the country. This understanding was supposedly inked on Tuesday and would also include the parcel being sold off for the same price to the selected operator of the future Las Vegas-style development.

While most gambling is currently illegal in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s coalition government passed legislation in July last year to see the nation of some 126 million people offer up a trio of casino licences. To be chosen as a host for one of these upcoming facilities, known locally as integrated casino resorts, communities are expected to partner with an established international operator before sending their final plans to the Japan Tourism Agency of the federal government in anticipation of a deadline of July 30, 2021.

GGRAsia reported that Wakayama Prefecture was one of the first Japanese territories to host one of the three forthcoming casinos, but the jurisdiction of nearly one million inhabitants is likely to face stiff competition from up to eight other candidate communities, including Osaka and Yokohama front runners.

In August, Wakayama Prefecture reportedly told GGRAsia that it would launch the request-for-proposal portion of its process to select an operating partner ‘soon after’ federal authorities finalised their core policies on the upcoming integrated casino resorts, which are now expected to occur by the end of the first quarter of next year. It also allegedly explained that several companies, including French gambling and hotel operator Groupe Lucien Barriere, are known to be interested in running such a facility, although rival bids will almost certainly involve even larger partners such as MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corporation.