United States-based tribal casino operator Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment has opened an office in Hokkaido, Japan’s most northerly main island.
The office (pictured) is in the port city of Tomakomai, a front-runner location, were Hokkaido prefecture to confirm it wants to bid to the national government for the right to have an integrated resort (IR), as large-scale casino complexes are known in that country.
The working title for a potential Mohegan Gaming property there, is ”Inspire Entertainment Resort Hokkaido”, according to company materials seen by GGRAsia.
The group has also been using the “Inspire” branding in connection with a development opportunity for a casino project in South Korea that would serve only foreign gamblers.
In Japan, the competitive landscape among the international casino operators interested in running a resort there has been dynamic, affected by factors including gradually-emerging fresh information on the public policy aspects of market liberalisation.
Up to three casino resorts will be permitted in Japan in a first phase for opening up that market.
In late June Mohegan Gaming presented some information on a prospective project in Tomakomai. The company said it planned to invest between US$3.5 billion to US$4.5 billion to develop a casino resort.
At the beginning of the year, international casino operator Hard Rock International Inc gave some preliminary detail of its ideas for its own Tomakomai IR.
In late August, U.S.-based Caesars Entertainment Corp – which at the turn of the year had answered a formal request for information from Tomakomai regarding an IR – said it was dropping plans to bid for one of the first casino licences in Japan. The firm said in a press release it was instead focusing on “current” expansion plans.
Caesars Entertainment is the target of a US$17.3-billion merger proposal from the smaller U.S. regional operator Eldorado Resorts Inc. The latter’s proposal is due to be put to shareholder meetings of the respective firms on November 15.
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