Three integrated resort (IR) permits are up for grabs in Japan. While the world’s largest casino operators are scrambling to put together their presentations to win licensure, gaming industry analysts say the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic causing global panic won’t delay the process.
GGRAsia, an online media outlet covering Asian gaming industries, reached out to numerous analysts seeking comment on the viral disease and its relation to Japan awarding the three casino licenses. The consensus was that the coronavirus should have little to no impact on the process.
“While Japan continues to take precautions surrounding the coronavirus, there does not seem to be any major slowdown in the overall timeline for integrated resorts in Japan,” said Global Market Advisors partner Brandan Bussmann.
There are now more than 1,500 coronavirus cases in Japan. That makes it the third-most infected country in the Western Pacific Region, behind China (81,000 cases) and South Korea (8,200 cases).
Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism said the official submission window is scheduled to run from January 4, 2021, to July 30, 2021.
Municipal and prefecture governments will first accept proposals from casino operators that have formed consortiums with local Japanese businesses. After selecting the winning scheme, the prefectures will make their case to the federal government as to why they should be selected to host one of the multibillion-dollar properties.
The five-member Japan Casino Management Committee will ultimately decide where the three casino IRs are located. But since that process isn’t slated to begin until August of next year, COVID-19’s impact, for now, is being downplayed.
There are still over 16 months before applications need to be in to the central government,” Bussmann added.
MGM Resorts is committed to Osaka for its IR. Las Vegas Sands, the other consensus frontrunner for licensure, is focused on Tokyo and Yokohama. A slew of other casino giants are forming their consortiums, including Wynn Resorts, Melco Resorts, Genting Group, Hard Rock, and Galaxy Entertainment.
Tokyo is scheduled to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, beginning with opening ceremonies on July 24. But with no end in sight for the coronavirus, the odds are lengthening that the games will go on as scheduled.
A poll conducted by Kyodo News Agency found that 70 percent of Japanese citizens do not believe the Summer Games will go on uninterrupted.
Online oddsmakers are asking whether the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be canceled. The line is currently Yes -175 (implied chance 63.64 percent), and No +135 (implied chance 42.55 percent).
President Donald Trump gave his opinion regarding the games being canceled or postponed. “I would say maybe they postpone it for a year,” the president stated. “I like that better than having empty stadiums all over the place.”
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe isn’t ready to concede the games for 2020. “We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem,” he declared.
The only times the Olympics have been canceled was because of the first and second World Wars. Japan was set to host two of the canceled games – the 1940 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, and 1940 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.