Two private-sector entities – a Japanese unit of global gaming operator Casinos Austria International, and Japanese firm Current Corp – have separately confirmed to GGRAsia they are participating in a request-for-concept (RFC) exercise by Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture regarding a potential integrated resort scheme on land at Huis Ten Bosch (pictured). The latter is a theme park within the boundaries of the prefecture’s Sasebo city.
The term integrated resort or “IR” is used in Japan to describe a large-scale casino resort with facilities including hotels, conference space and shops.
In an emailed response to GGRAsia, Casinos Austria International Japan Inc, noted it was still “calculating the investment budget” for the intended IR scheme at Huis Ten Bosch.
Costs for a “transportation network” serving the IR project “will be included,” in its budget, the Japan unit told us. The company’s chief executive Akio Hayashi outlined in June some details of a possible design for such a resort. It included venues for music performances, a spa, and facilities for medical tourism business, as well as a casino.
Japanese firm Current Corp’s representatives stated to GGRAsia that it had set an investment budget at JPY550 billion (US$5.08 billion) “at the moment” for its mulled IR scheme at the Huis Ten Bosch site. That projected cost included a budget for “infrastructure improvement” supporting the IR scheme, Current Corp noted in an emailed response.
In June, Current Corp mentioned partnership with two Hong Kong-listed firms regarding Sasebo: 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.
The same month an advisor to Hong Kong-listed Asian casino investor NagaCorp Ltd told us it was looking at the Huis Ten Bosch site.
This month Tim McNally, NagaCorp’s chairman, explained to us the group was waiting for Japan’s government to outline more details on the casino liberalisation process as a whole before being able to say anything definitive.
“There is so much yet to be seen in terms of regulations, in terms of investment levels,” Mr McNally stated.
“We’re not standing idly by. By the same token, we have large-scale investments and priorities right now with the next phase of the Naga 3 development” the chairman told us, referring to the firm’s flagship venue in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.
Nagasaki launched in early October the RFC relating to a 31-hectare (77-acre) site at Huis Ten Bosch.
The closing date for document submissions regarding the RFC phase is January 10, 2020. There will then be dialogue with the involved parties, according to a guidance document on the RFC exercise published by a body called Nagasaki Prefecture and Sasebo City Joint Council for the Promotion of IR.
Ken Hirata, vice governor of Nagasaki prefecture, recently outlined to GGRAsia that Sasebo was the settled choice – for Nagasaki and the other key governments of the whole Kyushu region - for a local IR bid to the national government. That was despite reports that alternative sites were being mentioned by some investors within the region.
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Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu
Sanford Bernstein analysts