Business

Japan to require casino resorts to have some of the largest hotels in the country

Kyodo

The government has announced standards it hopes to set for casino resorts — to be built by the mid-2020s — requiring them to have hotels and conference rooms that would be among the biggest in the country.

The requirements, including hotels with more than 100,000 square meters for guest rooms, would necessitate huge investments from local governments and facility operators, and were revealed by the government Friday. Japan is attempting to compete with regional rivals including Macau, Singapore and South Korea with the planned casinos.

Using an average-sized Japanese guest room of 50 square meters, such a hotel would necessitate 2,000 rooms, far exceeding the number of rooms at many of the largest hotels in the country.

Other requirements include: an exhibition hall with at least 120,000 square meters or a conference room that can hold more than 6,000 people, or a hybrid design that would have both a 60,000-square-meter convention room and a conference room that holds 3,000 people.

The largest exhibition floor space in Japan is at Tokyo Big Sight, with 95,000 square meters, and the largest conference halls, which are in Tokyo and Yokohama, hold around 5,000 people.

Floor space for casinos is set at below 3 percent of the total resort space. Advertising for casinos outside the integrated resort will be limited to airports with international flights and terminals at ports.

Cabinet approval of the requirements could come at the end of next month, after the closure of the public comment period that runs until March 4.

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

Think tanks estimate a casino resort could cost over $10 billion to build but would have a significant economic impact if successful.

But whether Japan will succeed in attracting wealthy foreign nationals, as the government expects, is unclear. Some projections have shown Japanese would account for between 70 and 80 percent of casino visitors.