The government of Japan has recently made public some of the standards it hopes to set for casino resorts that are to be built in the mid-2020s. Perhaps the most notable requirement is that the casinos will need to have conference rooms and hotels which, as it turns out, would be far larger than the existing ones in the country. This is all part of Japan’s bid to compete with its regional rivals including Singapore, Macau and South Korea, all of which also have planned casinos.
These plans, including the hotels with over 100,000 square meters for guest rooms, will require huge investments from both the gaming operators and the local governments. Considering the fact that an average-sized Japanese guest room occupies about 50 square meters, a hotel that would meet the government’s requirements would need to have 2,000 rooms which significantly exceeds the number of rooms that most of the established hotels in the country have.
In addition to the 100,000 square meters for hotel rooms, each of the facilities will be required to have an exhibition hall occupying no less than 120,000 square meters as well as a conference room that is capable of holding over 6,000 people. Alternatively, the operators will be allowed to opt for a hybrid design that will have both a conference room with a capacity of 3,000 people and a 60,000 square-meter convention room.
Furthermore, the government has set floor space for casinos to a little under 3 percent of the total resort space with advertising for the casinos outside the proposed integrated resorts being limited to terminals at ports and airports with international flights. As it stands, these requirements are still in the proposal phase but it is anticipated that cabinet approval could come at the end of March after the public comment period closes on March 4.
Several market analysts pegged Japan to be a major rival to Macau which is considered to be the Mecca of gambling both globally and in Asia. This prompted a number of gambling operators to make some lavish proposals in a bid to get a share of the country’s gaming market with the development of integrated casino resorts.
However, according to a recent poll conducted by the Kyodo News Agency, only 3 out of the 47 prefectures and the 20 cities that are eligible to bid for these casino locations are interested in hosting the casino resorts. While it is still too early to speculate why there such little interest, the rather outrageous requirement by the country’s government could have something to do with it especially with regards to the costs that both operators and local government will have to incur. Still, a lot could change over the course of the year – 17 local governments, for instance, have stated that they are still undecided which means that there is the possibility of a bidding war in the near future.