Nagasaki prefecture (pictured) is one of the “most advanced” regions in Japan in terms of garnering public support for the idea of hosting a casino resort, said on Thursday the prefecture’s governor Hodo Nakamura. The official added that were Nagasaki selected by the central government to host an integrated resort – or “IR” as they are known in Japan – local businesses would be keen in taking part on such a scheme.
Mr Nakamura was speaking to an audience at the Kyushu-Nagasaki IR Business Connect seminar, hosted at Arkas Sasebo and attended by GGRAsia. An aspiration for a Nagasaki-based IR is that it should help transform the greater Kyushu region into an “international tourism hub” with a focus on maritime attractions that have “high affinity to an IR development”, he noted.
Mr Nakamura highlighted in his speech that a 30-hectare (74.1-acre) plot of land at the Huis Ten Bosch amusement park in Sasebo could eventually serve as a potential site for a casino resort. In early April, the operator of Huis Ten Bosch and the governments of Nagasaki prefecture and Sasebo city said they had agreed on designating a piece of land contiguous to the park – as well as the buildings on that plot - as a possible location for a casino venue. No financial details of the deal were announced at the time.
A maximum of three resorts will be permitted in a first phase of market liberalisation. The national government has yet to announce its so-called basic policy on IRs. That would include – among other things – the central authorities’ criteria for selecting what places should be allowed to have a casino resort.
Officials from the Integrated Resort Promotion Division of the Nagasaki Prefectural Government Planning and Development Department told GGRAsia on the sidelines of the seminar that the prefecture was working with Sasebo city to jointly prepare a bid to host one of the three IRs allowed in the first phase of market liberalisation.
The Nagasaki prefectural government is now waiting for Japan’s central government to announce the details of the IR basic policy, so that it can launch its own request for concepts (RFC) stage, tentatively “in the autumn” this year, Shinichi Yoshida, Policy Director-General of Integrated Resort Promotion Division, told us.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the Kyushu Governors’ Association had passed a resolution aiming to attract an IR project to Nagasaki prefecture. The association represents the governors of the seven prefectures on Japan’s Kyushu island – namely Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki and Kagoshima. The body also represents the governors respectively of the nearby Yamaguchi prefecture on the largest Japanese island, Honshu; and the governor of Okinawa, the largest of Japan’s most southerly islands.
Thursday’s seminar featured presentations from representatives of several casino operators interested in investing in an integrated resort in Nagasaki prefecture. Members of the Sasebo Chamber of Commerce also did a presentation to the audience focused on a plan to connect potential resort operators to local business communities.
Among the entities that held presentations during the seminar were: Agora Hospitality Group Co Ltd, an affiliate of Hong Kong-listed property developer and gaming investor Far East Consortium International Ltd; NagaCorp Ltd, the operator of casino resort NagaWorld in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Japan-incorporated Current Corp, a company that is interested in investing in a Nagasaki casino resort bid with Get Nice Holdings Ltd and Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16; Hong Kong-based investment firm Oshidori International Holdings Ltd; and Casinos Austria International Japan Inc, the local unit of global casino operator Casinos Austria International.
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