In Japan and the central Honshu city of Kuwana has reportedly expressed an interest in potentially securing one of the nation’s coming trio of licenses to build and operate a Las Vegas-style integrated casino resort.

According to a report from GGRAsia, the mayor for the seaside Kansai community of approximately 145,000, Narutaka Ito, has officially asked the governor for Mie Prefecture to consider the viability of hosting a gambling-friendly development complete with multiple hotels, restaurants and exhibition facilities. Should it decide to formally declare its interest and the source detailed that Kuwana will be vying with three long-established runners in Nagasaki Prefecture, Wakayama Prefecture and the giant city of Osaka for one of the 40-year licenses.

Legislative shift:

Although most gambling is currently illegal in Japan, the coalition government of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly passed legislation in July of 2018 that will see the nation of 126 million people license a trio of large integrated casino resorts that could be open by the end of the decade. Wakayama Prefecture, Osaka and Nagasaki Prefecture have already selected their preferred operating partners, which is a requirement of the process, and are now purportedly preparing to submit their official bids to a panel of federal selectors in advance of an April 28 deadline.

Rival runner:

Kuwana’s potential interest reportedly comes only a month after the emergence of rumors that the northern Honshu city of Shinjo may also be preparing to lodge an official integrated casino resort license bid. This community in the island nation’s Tohoku region has a population of just 35,000 people but has purportedly already engaged Shotoku Corporation to serve as an ‘advisor’ in hopes of being able to attract interest in building and running a large gambling-friendly venue.

Inside information:

GGRAsia reported that only prefectures and ordinance-designated cities are being given the ability to bid for the right to secure one of Japan’s coming integrated casino resort licenses. Kuwana meets this latter designation and could purportedly have its prospects for any such coming scheme helped by the fact that Katsuyuki Ichimi, who was previously a senior official with the country’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, serves as the governor for Mie Prefecture.

Ichimi reportedly told the Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper…

“It is important to take the opinions of the city and residents there into consideration. There are both positive and negative sides to having an integrated casino resort.”

Second stab:

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is reportedly the federal government department helping to coordinate the county’s integrated casino resort policies. Ito is purportedly known to have asked Ichimi’s predecessor to consider entering the race for one of the three licenses in 2019 only to be met with silence.