The city of Osaka has recently reacted to serious bribery allegations which involve a China-based 500.com lottery company. As reported Osaka is passing a new set of protocols that will cover all interactions happening between representatives of interested gaming operators and local officials.
According to reports by Inside Asian Gaming and several other local news outlets, these new guidelines or principles have been adopted by the Osaka Prefecture and they strictly forbid all government employees from meeting on their own with casino operators and gaming operators representatives without revealing the specific details of such meetings online.
Needless to say, these actions were driven by the ongoing bribery allegations which revolve around the 500.com lottery company and the Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Tourism, Transport, Infrastructure, and Land Tsukasa Akimoto. It was also revealed that several other Japanese officials are under suspicion.
Osaka Currently Sits in the Leader Position
It was also reported by Inside Asian Gaming that the city of Osaka currently sits in the leader position in the ongoing race which will secure a trio of Japanese casino resort licenses. The city of Osaka, as well as several other cities and prefectures in Japan, hope to be given such permissions so that they can bring envisioned, fully integrated casino resorts into their communities.
The city’s envisioned gambling venue is planned for a 121-acre plot of land located on Yumeshima Island. This project that including bringing a Las Vegas-style casino would also require the entire community of around twenty million citizens to choose an international casino partner. This contest, in particular, is now between three global brands including Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited, Genting Malaysia Berhad and MGM Resorts International.
Osaka Officials Prohibited from Holding Meetings with Casino Operator Representatives
Nonetheless, due to those ongoing bribery allegations, officials for the city of Osaka as well as its surrounding prefecture are currently prohibited from having meetings with casino operator representatives from the three companies as well as from other similar firms without firstly posting the purpose and date of the meeting on the nation’s government website.
The city’s jurisdictions explained that this new collection of principles or rules have been adopted in order to make sure that the entire selection process is conducted fairly at all times. It was also explained that the new set of principles does not cover short interfaces between casino operator representatives and local officials such as brief interactions and greetings.
As reported by all major local and foreign news outlets, the 500.com company located in Shenzhen was thrown into the public spotlight in December after a prominent Japanese politician Tsukasa Akimoto was arrested. The legislator was indicted on charges that he accepted around $65,370 from the Chinese company so that he smooths the company’s path towards being granted a license to construct and operate envisioned casino resort in either Okinawa or Hokkaido.
Commenting on the news about the new set of principles regarding meetings between local officials and representatives of casino operators, the city’s mayor Ichiro Matsui said that the major proponent of the new principles is to aid the city. Meanwhile, the prefecture’s Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura shared similar statements adding that the ongoing bribery allegations and scandal concerning Tsukasa Akimoto is not the fault of massive efforts to bring casino resorts to Japan, but it was caused by local politicians’ greed.