IRs in Japan: Who has the best hand? - Brand 2020
Integrated. Resorts in Japan when can we start gambling, don't, forget to hit like subscribe, and share. Hi. Everyone welcome back to brand 2020, today is March 19th, 2019. Integrated. Resorts the legislation, passed we're, going through implementation, of how that will be selected, who it's going to be selected what cities what regions will get the bid for that I'm joined, today by Michael, Penn the foremost, authority, on legislation. And the casino, gambling law here, in Tokyo Michael foremost, authority, let's put it this way I may, be the journalist, whose most, eagerly working. On this for AG being upon on a daily basis okay well you're feeding a lot of the information that comes out it's balanced, it's well thought-out everybody's. Reading what you publish I hope so and I hope that soon, we have more than everybody because we're trying, to expand our readership for those who are interested in the development, of this industry which, is still, in the launch phase as we're sharing what a lot of people you know I mean we, know about it but it's, it's rather complicated and there's a long, draw, line isn't there well it doesn't exist yet I mean there the legislation. Was passed in July, 30th, of last year, and you. Know the the, starting gun really hasn't even been. Shot yet and of course until the very day when. The first ones of these facilities open their doors and the the crowds walk in and look around at what there is until. That day you know it's all going to be kind of theoretical in most people's minds right but there's a lot of excitement before, that I mean we, haven't selected even the sights the winners of the bids haven't I mean they're lined up right. Certainly in in terms of the business community and that circle of those who think. They might get contracts, and those who are likely to get contracts, there, is a lot of interest a lot, of companies, are setting up sort, of their IR divisions, within their companies and their their teams all in eagerness, to get those contracts, but again. We're still at a very early stage and as you say we, don't know where these. Facilities are gonna be and we don't know who, the consortiums, who are gonna run them are gonna be yet but that's what we're doing now right now we're figuring out where, and who okay, before we get into that Michael let's just talk about the scope of what is involved in in the, integrated, resorts, so, apparently. About 7%. Of the complex, will be devoted to gambling. And the, rest of it is restaurants, hotels. Shows. That sort of thing what, kind of things are going, through the minds of the bidders now they must have, you, know plans they've got to have a strategy, they, have to have maybe. An office here I've got to imagine they have an office. Here and maybe staff, it with 10, 15 20 people and hire some consultants, this is a big deal just getting into the game right well, according, to the law of the the limit for actually the casino floor facility, is not 7 percent it's 3 percent so, it's a much so that, means that 97. Percent is, going, to be things, which are not, casino, mm-hmm and you're absolutely right, that a lot, of the big companies the big operators, are have. Been opening. Up offices you. Know they're they're announcing it even now recently, there's new big companies saying you know our new office in Mar anoche is being open our new office in Hokkaido is being opened in, total, there's, something like around 18, different companies, who are bidding for these three spots hmm what did the three spots the. Three spots having been decided yet but the legislation, says that, there's an absolute limit of only three licenses, which will be given at, least for, the, initial, 7 years now it could be expanded, in the future but. In this first wave of. IR, openings, there will be three up to three okay so now we have, regional, governments. Or maybe even cities, that are vine I want to be one of those spots or I don't, want to be one of those spots my voters have told me keep, integrated, resorts away from us but, the people who are vying for have, realized, the windfall that is going to be due for tax, tax, rebates or tax payments that they could generate, as a result, of have, an integrated, result in their community, well if you're talking about the companies.
The Eagerness, is pretty. Universal they you, know when they look around the world today they, think that you know Japan is sort of the great untapped, market, for for, casino development, you know it's. Widely. Expected. To be the number two casino. Country. In the world after a Macau that's in so incredibly, yeah so they're almost, everybody, who's anybody wants. To be in on it now, if we're talking about the local governments, that's a different story this is quite interesting because, you. Know the national, government. Passed. This legislation, over, the, fierce objections, of the opposition, parties and, according. To almost every poll over, the disapprove of about two-thirds, of the general public yeah but who cares well, it. Does just kidding no but the thing is it it does blow back on me and where it's blowing back on them now is this battle, that's going on in the local areas because, on the one hand you, know when, now the local governments that want to put up their hand and say okay we'd like to have it here well, maybe one part of the local government thinks that but then their own public, and a lot of other institutions are saying no no no we don't want these things here so what's. Happening is that they're. Having a lot of trouble even finding enough candidates, where. Maybe, they might even not be able to build three of them if there aren't three local governments, which actually solve their local political problems, and make, a bid that sounds, astounding, because of course, for the business community they want something like this the construction the. Employment, the just, the flourishing, of arts and entertainment in that, district, but the. Other side is the social side you know the gambling and the the crime and the drugs and everything else that people think are go that, go hand in hand with that it's not and, that's that, sort. Of. Two-faced. Side of it that's to apenas side of it can even exist in the same individuals, so for example recently.
I Had, a little trip down to wakayama City which, is one of the main bidders so looks. Like they're gonna be trying. To get one of these IRS, and I. Was talking to local business people and these. Even these businessmen, say well, you know from the point of view of the economy and and and you, know my business, I'm, very you know I want the integrator resort to be built but. You know on the other hand you know I have even I have a little bit of you, know worried about what it's going to do to the. Community, and sort. Of you. Know gambling addiction, issues and, public. Peace and these sorts of things so, you. Know on the one hand they, see it as a. Great, driver, for tourism and the local economy and employment, but, on the other hand even. Those who are involved in it many of the Japanese are concerned that, there, may be negative, effects, that. The. You know that this and this idea is very. Widespread in the Japanese community the LDP is is traditionally. Looked at as big, business, this is where big, big, business represents. Its interests, and Komeito. Is the party for, social. Good and for, mothers and children and, for making sure that old people have, a you know good, welfare, and a good foundation there so, there seems to be a bit of a clash going on there but there are in a coalition government so. This must produce all sorts of really interesting results. In the, evenin in Tokyo but for example in Osaka as well Hokkaido, this was a big, part, of the issue a couple years ago so. As. Far. As why was the delay of the passage, of the legislation, until. First of all in 2016. For the initial step and then last July, for the second step that delay, was largely because Komeito. Was putting up a fight against. The the. Establishment. Legislation, however, at this point Komeito. Has completely, rolled over you, know their opposition, has. Been given up and there's even members. Of of, the Komeito party who are now gung ho about about, this about. This development so the, there, this did create tension in that coalition but. Komeito. Put up the white flag and now they're on board okay where are the hot spots I know Tokyo, is a hot spot Yokohama. Osaka. What else is hot what else looks pretty, attractive, to some of the people who would like, to have a casino in their region well from the point of view of the businesspeople obviously. It's the two major, urban markets, which they would really love to have one of these so in the case of the Kanto. Probably, that you'd have to say Yokohama is the leading, possibility. And then Tokyo, as well we can talk about each of these individually, if you want and. Then of course in the Kansai area the. Main the. Main major urban markets. Bid. Is likely to come from Osaka, a man-made. Island you, know soccer Bay called you Mishima, is in place where they want to put it. Waka, Yama is also. Part of the Kansai, theoretically. But, it's some more of a rural part it's it's a little bit outside of the major and her before it and hungry for it particularly.
The Governor. And. Then another place where, is. A major bitter likely, will, be the house tempest. Theme. Park facility, in Sasebo and Nagasaki prefecture and then. In, Hokkaido. Tomoco. My city in particular is. Is, eager, to to. Bid for this at least we're, talking about the city governments, here we're not necessarily talking, about every institution, within those cities. So. It's. I. Should say first, of all though about Yokohama, and Tokyo at. This point as we sit here today they. Have not, openly. Declared, their interest the, the. Mayor of Yokohama. Mayor. Hayashi has, said that, she. Is a so-called, blank. Page, but at the same time she's well, thought to have been, interested in doing it but there's heavy duty political. Resistance within Yokohama. Against it in the, case of Tokyo. There. Is it's, also thought that that probably, a governor. Koike would would like to make a bid perhaps, but, again. It's a matter of political capital and timing and right. Now the main focus in the Tokyo case is the. Post Olympics, EEG, site which, already. Governor. Koike, has proposed. Will be a big, entertainment. Convention, center area but so far she's saying. That, a casino, facility, would not be part of that so it'd be serve, an integrated, resort without, a casino, but, exactly. What her intentions, are down the line. Different, people have different perspectives. So, the the political makeup. Of the, district. Is probably. Right now the guiding point because the. District. Or the community, has to say we're, open for a bid and then. There's, another step after that but first of all they have to qualify. Through. A local referendum or a vote, the. People know there's not much democracy going, on here. So. Essentially. The the prefectural. Governor, is. The person, who is sort of the the, first. Point of contact in a sense because. It's the prefecture which will apply, to. To be the host and then, of course the mayor of, the of. The area where they actually want to have it also has to, be on board in the, end to. Finally, endorse this you. Will need the, governor the, prefectural, assembly and, the, mayor not. Even the City Council mm-hmm, they say there's no referendum, there's no vote. It's. Quite possible, and that. This will be run through in some local areas with. Most of the public being against it okay but, the, the public does have a vote because generally. The candidates, for election we're seeing this in Osaka we, seen it we've, seen it in Hokkaido and we also saw in Okinawa, where, the referendum, not it wasn't really a referendum the candidate, says I. Commit. To you that I will support the, the bid or they say not. In my backyard it, can, work that way but as you know is a political, specialist, yourself in Japan the. Playing field between the conservative, parties and and the. Opposition, parties are is, not an even playing field and of course in any election, people vote based, on a variety of issues often. You know whether they like the particular candidate. Or not on a personal, basis you. Know so the poly for, talk about one policy the policy of building, this. IR facility, that. Gets kind of watered down in, a representative, democracy, one. Very interesting point though about this. Whole with this the whole way this is played out in Japan which, isn't necessary, the way it does in other countries, is that. You. Can take a, ideological. Spectrum of a candidate, to our party and essentially. The, more conservative. And the more right-wing that they are the. More absolutely.
In Favor of the IRS, and the casinos, they are in Japan and the, further less that you go the, more dead-set, opposed they are it's, almost. Completely. You can map it out about that every, candidate, how. Left are they you could pretty much predict exactly where, they're gonna come down on the casinos how right are they you can pretty much predict we've. Got an interesting selection. Going on in Osaka right now gearing, up for a double election we're gonna have an episode, on that Michael to Chuck and I after this, series, but. Once. A city, has decided, we. Are good for it we have the space we. Qualify, for the. Prefecture has voted, that we can move forward then, what happens now there's a beauty contest isn't, there well, presuming. That there are more, than three local. Governments who do put. Up their hands and that's quite, likely there will be three four five, and. Osaka. I think is. Considered. To be the, the, closest, thing to a sure thing of all of them because. They've already gone a long way the, entire business community is, completely. Bought on, you. Know has, bought onto the project there's, already going to be the 2025. World Expo and you Mishima so, you. Know if the, you. Know if the Osaka. Restoration. Association, or Asian. Or one Osaka whatever you want to call it if they. Are emerged. Victorious, again after, these elections on on, April, seventh then you can guarantee that this project, will go full force full speed and they, want to open it up in 2020. For about, a year or so ahead of of, the of, the Expo if the LDP, wins, or. Takes, charge of say the, prefectural, assembly or, the or, the City Council then, they. Could slow, things up and in fact the the. Candidate, the LDP candidate, for governor has. Already indicated, that, he. Doesn't, see moving, as a priority he's. Saying more like well first we need to get the the, you. Know the consent of the people then we might move forward but the idea that the construction, must be before the expo, doesn't. Seem to be a. Priority. For him right, another. Big place to be watching for on April 7th is Hokkaido in Hokkaido. You have a competitive. Left. Versus right election, for. Governor and at the prefectural assembly level, and as, I just told you if, the, right wins then, it's pro IR right the left wins then, it's no, I are okay, but we're skipping the step here let's say that, they, do have a vote. To begin it now we have the beauty contest let's. Get get into that process everybody's. Going to be showing their wares this is our our design this is our design which one do you like what's, the process that goes on there right and who actually decides, okay, so. The way that the system has the, law has been written and that the bureaucrats, are kind of filling out the details now is the. First step will, be that. In. The coming months maybe even very soon the, the, government the central government will be putting together will. Be. Publishing. What, are the basic regulations, you know if you're, going to have an IR what are the central facilities, that it must have what. Is going to be the bidding process and all this now, the this. Part. Of this will be coming from the cabinet office and part, of it will be coming from the Ministry of Tourism next, step is that, the local governments, have, to choose their, operator. And, consortium. Partners so. The, this the picture then moves away from the central government and moves to the local scene so, let's, take as a, hypothetical. Example Osaka, so. Then the Osaka government, the prefectural and city government will then have their own process which they'll conduct in their own way and, those. And, they'll say okay. Las, Vegas Sands MGM. Mel. Co, Caesars. And, several. Others guys. Are in no no they're saying you guys are interested, you're interested so, you, put together your consortium, your, individual. Consortiums, with Japanese company and then, you give, it to our committee and then, our committee will decide which of you is our partner and the other ones you're out okay then. The, local government and their consortium, IR operator. Partners, together will. Make a bid to, the, central government okay and then in some way the schedule hasn't, been quite. Published. Yet we're but, this will be soon the. Central. Government will say okay we, endorse this. Regional government to, have an IR this. Prefectural government and we, don't we, don't license this government like I said there'll be a maximum of three mm-hm, and so. The. Interesting point is is that for, the companies they, make their partnerships, with the local government in advance, of even the local government, being selected, as a, potential. Isince to I or it's a gamble it's all again it's all a gamble so they have to actually put.
Together A, consortium of sorts, right, and I, don't, know if a consortium, member. Is thereby. Forbidden. To be a consortium member, to another opposing. Bid for example a construction, company or something like that but, I imagine they would have certain certain. Safeguards there but probably not actually you. May have double dippers you're may you may have cases where there are certain companies who are involved in multiple bids okay there are certain there's, certainly many who want to do it that way, the, question, is will. The IR operators, themselves or, the local governments be happy with a situation where, you have a company, working here and working there, but. I don't think there's necessarily gonna, be any formal rules against the. Thing that strikes me about this because it's very complicated you have to pass this gate and then you have to pass it the other gate is that there is tremendous room. For. Facilitation. You, know how, can, I influence you to make a decision with, regard, to me and then two. Weeks later we have to do the same thing again and there's. An awful, lot of money at stake here, so it. Seems like there would be a temptation, to kind of yes, we're gonna pay you over, market for the cement, that you're going to pour we're going to pay a little, bit more for the the stake. That we serve at the restaurants, for a period of two years or that sort of thing well. About. That issue it, really depends, on how shall. We say cynical. Or realistic, or your appreciation. Of the political system however you want to put it is. Is, is, how much effect that's gonna have so for example there are powerful. Central, government figures so let's, say in the case of of Wakayama, you have Toshihiro, nikai who's the secretary-general. Of a Liberal Democratic Party some. People think that well because you have Nika in that powerful position, so close to obey this, means that walking Hamas bid is strengthened, because he's going to help, pull strings from there, whereas. Of course if you say that you know officially, to other you know - people say nonono that the whole process is going to be done by a third, party panel, which is completely, isolated from all, of these outside influences. Because. And this. Is an argument because. We. Know that, unless we do this without that kind of hanky-panky, sure the, public is gonna eat us alive well even if even if there is none there's always going to be people, who rabble, rousers are they right through but, imagine if there's actual evidence yes I'm so right but the point is is that. Eventually. They're going to pick. The. Best-looking. Bidder, and how, how do you project yourself as, being the best-looking I mean is it architecture, is it cost, it is it performance, it's, all of these low again it depends on which level you're talking about if we're talking about the companies, trying to romance the, local. Governments yes, they're going to show, they're going to have to prove to local limits that will be your best partner we're, gonna create a facility here that's really really gonna jump. Up your tourism, and your economy, we're gonna hire all kinds of local people you know we're gonna give you that. Kind of you know we're gonna be partners that you can trust for, the long term from. The point of view of the. Local. Government and. Consortiums. Romancing. To the central, government in that, case they're they're going to want to say first, of all the central government's going to be convinced, that it's going to be an economic success.
That, You know if one of these bombs out that's going to look really bad politically. So, mainly, it's about economy. Mmm-hmm you know if you. License. Our local, government and in, our consortium then, we're going to do more to promote. Tor, to Japan we're. Going to have more of an economic, effect in the local community and to stimulate, the entire nation so. The. The Romancing, has different. Aspects. To it but, at. The heart of it the idea is that stimulating. Tourism, and stimulating. Economies. In Japan right, well I mean it seems, to me that it all boils down to confidence, and you. Know, believability. You know is is this somebody that I can believe in will they go all the distance with. Me because you, can you can dress it up any way you want to but when when the casinos. Finally open or when the integrated, resorts finally, open that's where the proof will be in the pudding absolutely, and so. I, presume. It looks like the most likely date. For, the first ones to open up at this point is 2024. That. May end up being a little too ambitious it, could it could end up getting the lay down to that but let's say 2024. And like. I said it's really when the, general public you know and their families, in tow ago. And they they walk into these facilities with its casita, with not just a casino but. The luxury, hotels, the. The convention, centers the, meeting places of the last restaurant shows the, water gardens, and all of it right yes and so. So. When if the public gets in there and says hey you know what you, know we thought this was going to be some kind of like you know crazy, gambling. Den of thieves and, it's actually this beautiful, shopping center and luxury. Hotels they, that I think that there will be a little bit of a shift in any ideas I agree but but, at the same time right. Up until the day that that happens perception. I think there's going to be quite. A bit of concern. That, this, is something which is going to be destructive to Japanese, society right, before, we wrap this series, up Michael what, do we expect now, to happen, that, has an impact on the IR, movement. Going forward is there, going to be is, there a deadline for the, consortium's. To be together or to present, themselves to the prefectural government all right so, first. Thing we should be looking at is the April 7th. United. United, local, elections because. Then we're going to see what's. The situation in Osaka and what's the situation in, Hokkaido. And maybe, a couple other places but but because. Osaka, and Hokkaido are two, of the key locations, the. Outcome of the elections there is big big big. Then. At an, undetermined. Date but maybe in the spring or summer the. Central government is going to say. These are the more, fuller, regulations. About, how the, bids are conducted. Then. July 1st will, be the establishment of the. Doesn't. Have an English, translation, yet, but I caught I've been calling it the casino, management, board which. Will be the main regulatory. Authority, for the casino floors, which. Will be an independent, agency, of the Cabinet Office right before, an, entity. Becomes a ministry, it's a it's, an agency and so it won't become a Ministry of course, it'll be an agency that it's the creation of a new agency just. For this process correct, it'll have a staff about a hundred and basically. Their idea the idea there's they're the policemen to make sure that there's, no money laundering, and that, people, are paying their taxes, and that all of all of that sort of such all the regulation, that needs to be done for the casino element, is done correctly right and then, also, there'll.
Be A whole nother set of regulations from, the Ministry of Tourism which. Will obligate, these IRS. To play a role. To. Promote. Tourism in their own regions, okay and, that'll be midsummer. Possibly. That part is not set on a firm date but it will be this year, without. You know within, a few months integrated. Resorts in Japan it is coming please, stay tuned.