Japan may push back deadline for casino host-city bids by a year

Reuters

Posted at Oct 09 2020 10:13 AM

People wearing protective masks make their way amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at a business district in Tokyo, Japan August 4, 2020. Kim Kyung-Hoon, Reuters/File

TOKYO - Japan's government is considering pushing back by a year a July 2021 deadline for cities to submit bids to host casinos due to delays in preparation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Friday.

The government sees the so-called integrated resorts, which include casinos, shopping outlets and hotels, as a significant means of bolstering tourism, tax revenue and local economies as the country grapples with the impact of a shrinking population.

It has authorized licences for three resorts and had set a July-end deadline for bids and development plans from interested cities. Those that have expressed an interest include Yokohama, Tokyo, Osaka - Japan's three largest cities - as well as smaller cities including Nagasaki and Wakayama.

The government's plans for the resorts have been hampered in the past by opposition from a public wary of gambling addiction and a bribery scandal that led to the arrest of a high-profile lawmaker.

In May, Las Vegas Sands Corp ended its plans for a resort in Japan.