Japanese company Current Corp has outlined to GGRAsia how it would be a contender to provide private-sector investment should Nagasaki prefecture decide to put its name forward to host one of the country’s first casino resorts. The Huis Ten Bosch amusement park site in Sasebo, part of Nagasaki prefecture, would in likelihood be the local government’s preferred site.
Current Corp’s potential scheme – for an integrated resort or “IR” as they are known in Japan – would be likely to cost about JPY550 billion (US$5.08 billion), said Hidenobu Takagi, the firm’s director and chief administrative officer, in separate comments during a presentation at Kyushu-Nagsaki IR Business Connect, a seminar on casino investment and that was held in Sasebo on Thursday.
The Japanese firm plans to advance its Nagasaki project in partnership with Hong Kong-listed Get Nice Holdings Ltd – formerly an investor in what was the Grand Waldo casino hotel in Macau, run under a Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd gaming licence; and Success Universe Group Ltd – an investor in Macau’s Ponte 16 casino resort, which uses the Macau licence of SJM Holdings Ltd.
In comments to GGRAsia on the sidelines of the Sasebo seminar, Current Corp’s Mr Takagi expressed confidence in the consortium.
He told us: “Since we are a Japanese company, we can work closely with local business partners in Sasebo and in the Nagasaki prefecture. That’s one of our big strengths, compared to the other bidders.”
Global casino operator Casinos Austria International – via a local unit – has also expressed interest in Nagasaki. So has Hong Kong-listed Asian casino investor NagaCorp Ltd.
Current Corp’s Mr Takagi noted that his firm had been launched in June precisely for the purpose of pursuing the investment initiative in an IR project in Nagasaki. The firm also has an office in the prefecture. Current Corp is said to be part of SRC Group, a Japan-incorporated firm. According to the latter’s website, its business interests include real estate.
Get Nice, Success Universe
“Current Corp is a company of the SRC Group that will partner with Get Nice Holdings and Sofitel Macau, and Success Universe,” said Mr Takagi, referring second to the hotel that is part of Macau’s Ponte 16 resort. The Sofitel brand itself is owned by France’s Accor SA hospitality conglomerate.
Referring to Get Nice Holdings and Success Universe, Mr Takagi stated: “We’re business partners. We are capital and business allies.” He declined to give details of the shareholding structure of the partner entities in the consortium.
Get Nice Holdings had announced in January this year that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with other entities related to the SRC Group regarding potential development of a possible IR project in another part of Japan – Shizuoka prefecture, on the south central coast of Japan’s main island, Honshu, and southwest of Tokyo and Yokohama.
Regarding a possible Nagasaki IR bid, Current Corp would seek to “combine” the European theme of the existing Huis Ten Bosch site – an attraction modelled on the architecture and ambience of a Netherlands settlement – and the use of “modern technology” within the gaming resort facilities that might eventually be housed on land that the local authorities had acquired – for an undisclosed consideration – from the amusement park operators. Mr Takagi further noted in remarks to us, that a Sofitel-branded hotel was likely to be part of the consortium’s putative IR project.
Hodo Nakamura, the governor of Nagasaki prefecture, had highlighted in a speech at last week’s Sasebo seminar that the recently-acquired 30-hectare (74.1-acre) plot of land could serve as a site for any casino resort that might be pursued locally.
“We visited the [Huis Ten Bosch] site many times. It is really attractive. We would like to make the most use of it, and its overall European atmosphere,” Mr Takagi remarked to us.
“Regional revitalisation” and tourism facility “redevelopment” were two of the main aims of Japan’s casino liberalisation policy, noted the Current Corp executive.
“Since Nagasaki is already a famous place for tourism, we believe that Nagasaki is the best place for the very first IR in Japan,” Mr Takagi stated.
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