With the Japanese government’s lack of experience managing projects similar to the forthcoming establishment of IRs, some international operators and industry experts are concerned that the need for an orderly, staggered bidding process may not be fully appreciated.
At present, local governments are beginning to jockey for the attention of international operators within a vacuum of guidance from the central government.
In his late June presentation at the Japan Tourism Research Association, Daniel Cheng, Hard Rock International’s senior vice-president of Business Development in Asia, pointed out a number of disadvantages that could result if local governments are made to submit their bids in a simultaneous process.
“If I get a request from three cities at the same time, which one do I concentrate on? Which one to I have to give up?” Mr. Cheng advised, “The RFP process should be conducted in a consecutive manner, so if four locations are selected, then the RFP for each location should be done one after another.”
Paul Bromberg, CEO of Spectrum Asia, a gaming investigations consultancy, believes that Japan will likely adopt a staggered bidding process, but agrees that it could lead to difficulties if they do not do so.
“[The operators] wouldn’t be able to decide which city to apply for. Therefore they might give up on cities which might be second choices.” He added, “The cities and prefectures would not get the best choice possible. It would be preferable if every company that wants to bid for a license in a particular project, a particular location, could do so.”