Japan Prefecture Wakayama Announces IR Licensing and Development Schedule

Published January 21, 2021 by Lee R

Japan Prefecture Wakayama Announces IR Licensing and Development Schedule

The valuable market in Japan is taking a deliberate approach to gambling regulation with large scale models and benefits.

The Japan IR implementation approach is taking further shape with another prefecture releasing plans for Japan's IR approach to regulation.

Wakayama Prefecture's IR Plan

On the heels of Nagasaki disclosing IR plans, the Wakayama Prefectural Government published an IR implementation plan last Thursday with an optimistic opening target for opening an IR by Spring 2026.

Pandemic Delays Unavoidable

The prefectural government in Wakayama is trying to keep the project moving forward, after trusting the former Abe national government's initial belief that the pandemic would not alter the timeline.

However, the best laid plans to move forward organisationally and bureaucratically could not offset the economic shortfalls that the pandemic has obviously wrought.

Remaining Licensing Candidates

The four candidate locations originally competing for three licenses have been pared down to two after early front-runners Barriere and Bloomberry pulled out due to economic-related problems called by the pandemic.

With only Suncity Group and Clairvest Group remaining in the running, the lack of competition may keep revenues down for the Prefecture itself.

Pushing Forward

Plans for the engaging and multi-purpose entertainment complex which folds licensed gambling into its activities has been tabbed by the prefecture to be driven by an overarching “sports and wellness” theme focusing on the natural attractions of the outlying region.

Application Process Delayed

The nine-month national IR licensing delay has pushed the application window to an October 21 launch, with the spring 2026 opening plan to be realistic because the Marina City site of the development is already secured and ready to be developed.

On Tap

The next step in the Prefecture's IR development project will the choosing of an operator consortium partner and inking the agreement in the spring.

Breaking Ground

The submission of the licensing applications from prefecture to national government are set to take place in April 2022, with submission of the land to Wakayama's licensed IR consortiums in

Spring 2023 to begin construction.


While the time seems far off, the prodigious scale of operations and the multi-themed engagement prefecture by prefecture represents the way for Japan to harness the benefits of the added revenues which gaming bring within a form acceptable to national regulating authorities and regional legal guidelines. 

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