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Cabinet OKs big-scale hotel requirement for casino resorts

  • March 26, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 2:10 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO — Japan’s Cabinet approved Tuesday standards for casino resorts due to be built by the mid-2020s, requiring them to contain hotels far larger than currently exist in the country along with conference rooms and exhibition halls.


With hotels required to secure more than 100,000 square meters for guest rooms, local governments aiming to invite such resorts to their municipalities will need to cooperate with business operators capable of making such massive investments.


The government, which made public the standards last month, aims to see the first batch of integrated casino resorts, comprising hotels, conference rooms and shopping facilities, open at up to three locations in the country by the mid-2020s.


Japan will aim for casino resorts of “unprecedentedly large scale and high quality,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a government meeting on the issue prior to the Cabinet approval.


The scale requirement for hotels was based on the size of overseas casino resorts built over the past decade. With the average-sized Japanese guest room requiring 50 square meters, such a hotel would necessitate 2,000 rooms, exceeding the average of 1,500 at three major luxury Tokyo hotels.


As for the sizes of conference rooms and exhibition sites, operators will need to fulfill one of three combined numerical criteria, which include a convention center that accommodates 3,000 people with a 60,000-square-meter exhibition space.


Tokyo Big Site currently has the largest exhibition floor space of 95,000 square meters, and the largest conference halls, which are in Tokyo and Yokohama, hold around 5,000 people.


The maximum floor space for casinos should be 3 percent of the total space for the integrated resort. Outside the facility, casino ads can only be displayed at international terminals of airports and seaports.


A governmental casino management commission, which is planned to be newly set up, will set detailed rules on how to operate the casinos.


Japan ended a ban on casino gambling by enacting the integrated resorts promotion law last July, with Abe’s government hoping that such facilities will lure more foreign visitors and boost regional economies outside Tokyo.


A recent Kyodo News survey, covering all of Japan’s 47 prefectures and 20 major cities that are eligible to host the newly legalized resorts, found that only three areas — the prefectures of Osaka, Wakayama and Nagasaki — plan to apply for the government’s screening of host sites.

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