Osaka drops plan to open on line casino resort by March 2027 resulting from pandemic

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Osaka officials have decided to scrap the city’s plan to open a casino resort by March 2027 under Japan’s liberalized gambling laws, due to the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic, sources familiar with the matter said Thursday.

In 2019, the city of Osaka and Osaka Prefecture set fiscal 2026 as their target for the plan, but this will not be mentioned in a soon-to-be adopted policy as a number of companies have fallen behind in their preparations for the project, according to the sources.

The decision comes after the Japanese government postponed plans to accept formal applications from municipalities vying to host so-called integrated resorts, which incorporate a large hotel, conference rooms and gambling areas. The application period, originally scheduled for January through July, is now slated to begin in October.

The government is planning to select up to three locations where integrated resorts will be permitted to open under legislation that cleared parliament in 2018 to legalize casino gambling in Japan.

The Osaka prefectural and city governments will respectively hold a meeting of senior officials, possibly later this week, to approve the policy, which sets out details such as the schedule until the casino’s planned opening and various conditions for firms involving in its construction, according to the sources.

The policy will not include a specific opening year, but the officials aim to open a hotel and parts of other facilities in stages, the sources said.

So far, Yokohama, located near Tokyo and the second-largest city in Japan by population, as well as the prefectures of Wakayama and Nagasaki have declared their intentions to host casinos.

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