Osaka’s request-for-concept (RFC) application phase in its effort to identify parties interested in being commercial partners


Osaka’s request-for-concept (RFC) application phase in its effort to identify parties interested in being commercial partners for hosting a casino resort, begins on Thursday (April 25), and ends on May 24.

That is according to an announcement on Wednesday on behalf of Osaka prefecture and the Osaka city government, by their jointly-run integrated resort promotion bureau, and as cited by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.

The specifications of the RFC phase are that the Osaka site will cover 49 hectares (121 acres). Yumeshima island, a land reclamation site in Osaka bay, has previously been flagged as the likely site for a casino resort.

Under the Osaka RFC requirements, a submission should include a number of core attributes as identified by the national government in ordinances on March 26. They are: convention capacity; exhibition space; an attraction to promote to the world Japan and its culture; ability to function as a tourism gateway to other parts of the country; and a large-scale hotel.

Respondents to Osaka’s RFC must also outline countermeasures to gambling addiction and plans to ensure community safety.

The term “integrated resort” or “IR” is used in Japan to describe large-scale gambling resorts with ancillary leisure facilities.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has endorsed the legalisation of such resorts as a stimulus for inbound tourism. Three venues will be allowed in the first phase of liberalisation. Those local governments qualified to apply to the national government for permission to host an IR – namely prefectures and ordinance-level cities – need to team with private-sector partners prior making their bid to the national government.

After Osaka concludes its RFC application stage on May 24, interested parties will have until circa the end of August to make their submission. From August to October, there will then be discussion at local-government level regarding the submissions, according to GGRAsia’s correspondent.

Subsequently the Osaka authorities are expected to make public what is termed the “basic policy” locally regarding an IR.

Only after that – in likelihood later this year – will Osaka prefecture and Osaka city joint IR promotion bureau launch a request-for-proposal (RFP) phase, which will choose the actual consortium to tap Tokyo for the right to an IR.

The recently-elected prefectural governor and city mayor are aiming eventually to merge the two Osaka governments.