Following a rejection by the Wakayama Prefectural Assembly of an integrated casino resort project, only Osaka and Nagasaki are expected to submit bids to host Japan’s first casinos, undermining a major initiative by the central government to revitalize local economies.

Longstanding concerns about whether financing would come through for the proposed ¥470 billion project at Wakayama Marina City, located on an artificial island in the city of Wakayama, prompted 22 of the 40 assembly members to vote against it on Wednesday. The bid had the backing of prominent local politicians and Wakayama-based heavyweights in parliament such as former Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai.

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