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Analysts believe first Japanese IRs will open in 2026

Despite Osaka’s strong desire to open its Yumeshima IR in 2024, before the World Expo, a new research brief from Global Market Advisors predicts that this timeline will now prove to be too ambitious, and in fact the first Japanese IRs will not able to open their doors before early 2026.

“Even under the most aggressive timeline,” the report states, “it would have been a challenge to get an IR open on Yumeshima by 2025, should they be awarded one of the three coveted licenses. This is because of the challenges that would face any structure of this magnitude being built anywhere in Japan, let alone a man-made island that may have its own challenges in construction. Japan’s environmental process alone will likely take 20-24 months to complete.”

Moreover, it adds, “Major integrated resorts typically require 34-40 months to build. In total, the full development timeline would likely range from 54 months to over 64 months. As of the writing of this brief, there are 67 months until the start of 2025. As such, licenses would have to be awarded within the next 12 months to have a chance at opening a complete integrated resort that is ready to go by 2025.”

On the other hand, the report predicts that the national government’s delay in establishing the necessary regulatory framework will not be as long as some observers fear. It expects that the Casino Management Board will still be established before the end of this year and that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will issue its guidelines in early 2020.

Moving forward, the Global Market Advisors report predicts that local governments will select their IR operator partners in early 2021, three candidate sites will be licensed in mid-2022, and that actual construction will take place in the 2023-2026 period.


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