As it looks to win the right to host one of Japan’s coming trio of integrated casino resorts and the government for Wakayama Prefecture has reportedly just approved a deal that could see such a facility brought to its Marina City artificial island.

According to a report from GGRAsia, the arrangement calls for the southern Honshu territory to pay approximately ¥7.7 billion ($70.8 million) for a 50.7-acre plot of privately-owned land on the Osaka Bay island should it be selected as a host for one of the nation’s three gambling-friendly venues. This understanding was purportedly inked on Tuesday and would moreover later involve the parcel being sold off to the selected operator of the future Las Vegas-style development for the same price.

Definitive deadline:

Although most gambling is currently illegal in Japan, the coalition government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed legislation in July of last year that is to see the nation of some 126 million people offer up a trio of casino licenses. In order to be selected as a host for one of these coming facilities, which are locally known as integrated casino resorts, communities are being required to partner with an experienced foreign operator before submitting their final plans to the federal government’s Japan Tourism Agency in advance of a July 30, 2021, deadline.

Multiple contenders:

GGRAsia reported that Wakayama Prefecture was one of the first Japanese territories to put its name forward as a proposed host for one of the three coming casinos but the jurisdiction of almost one million inhabitants is likely set to face stiff competition from up to eight other candidate communities including front-runners Osaka and Yokohama.

Operator appeal:

Wakayama Prefecture reportedly told GGRAsia in August that it would launch the request-for-proposal portion of its process to select an operating partner ‘soon after’ federal authorities finalized their basic policies on the coming integrated casino resorts, which is now expected to happen by the end of the first quarter of next year. It moreover purportedly explained that several firms including French gambling and hotels operator Groupe Lucien Barriere are known to be interested in running such a facility although rival bids are almost certain to involve even larger partners such as MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands Corporation.