In Japan and the city of Osaka has reportedly reacted to the ongoing bribery allegations involving Chinese sports lottery firm 500.com by passing new protocols covering interactions between local officials and representatives of any potential gaming operator.
According to reports from Inside Asian Gaming and CalvinAyre.com, the new guidelines have also been adopted by the larger Osaka Prefecture and forbid all local government employees from meeting with casino firms without first publishing the specific details of any such rendezvous online.
Inside Asian Gaming reported that Osaka currently sits in pole position in the race to secure one of a trio of coming Japanese integrated casino resort licenses with the city subsequently hoping to be given permission to bring its envisioned gambling-friendly facility to a 121-acre plot of reclaimed land on Yumeshima Island. Such a Las Vegas-style project would also purportedly require the community of some 20 million inhabitants to select an international casino operating partner with this latter contest now thought to be between MGM Resorts International, Genting Malaysia Berhad and Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited.
However, officials for Osaka and its surrounding prefecture are now reportedly prohibited from holding meetings with representatives from these and other such firms without first posting the date and purpose of the gathering on a government website. The jurisdictions purportedly explained that the new rules have been designed to guarantee that the whole selection process is fair but do not cover shorter interfaces such as greetings and brief interactions.
CalvinAyre.com reported that Shenzhen-headquartered 500.com was thrust into the public spotlight late last month following the arrest of prominent Japanese politician Tsukasa Akimoto (pictured). The 48-year-old legislator had been serving in the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe but was subsequently indicted on charges that he may have accepted up to ¥7.2 million ($65,370) in bribes from the Chinese firm so as to help smooth its path towards obtaining a license to bring an integrated casino resort to either Hokkaido or Okinawa.
Osaka mayor Ichiro Matsui is one of the key proponents of the new rules dealing with meetings between local officials and those representing potential operating partners and he reported that these refreshed guidelines will now serve to aid his city and the wider effort to bring casino gambling to Japan.
Matsui reportedly stated…
“In the comings and goings of politicians, you need to take responsibility for your own actions. Receiving donations and putting it into your pocket instead of declaring it is a violation of the law.”
Meanwhile, the Governor for Osaka Prefecture, Hirofumi Yoshimura, seemed to echo these sentiments, adding that the bribery scandal concerning Akimoto and 500.com is not the fault of efforts to bring casino gambling to Japan as it was caused by the greed of some local politicians.
Yoshimura reportedly proclaimed…
“This is not a problem with integrated casino resorts but a problem with the representatives. This scandal and crime have absolutely nothing to do with Osaka’s ongoing integrated casino resort project.”