Nagasaki Casino Resort Would Rely Predominantly on Locals, Prefecture Says

Nagasaki is one of three Japanese prefectures bidding the central government to receive authorization to proceed with an integrated casino resort development.

Nagasaki casino IR Casinos Austria
Nagasaki casino IR Casinos Austria
A rendering of Casinos Austria’s integrated resort project in Nagasaki. Prefecture cities say such a destination would greatly appeal to locals. (Image: Nagasaki Prefecture)

Nagasaki last month selected Casinos Austria over two other integrated resort pitches fielded by the prefecture. Casinos Austria has proposed building a casino complex adjacent to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Nagasaki’s Sasebo City.

Japan’s national government passed legislation to set the framework for commercial gambling in July of 2018. The congress did so with the thought that casinos could spur new economic activity and generate much-needed tourism to rural regions.

Prefecture officials in Nagasaki, however, believe its potential casino destination would rely on locals much more than foreigners. The government said in a statement this week, as first reported by GGRAsia, that roughly 70 percent of the resort traffic would likely be Japanese people.

Nagasaki Candidacy

Japan’s Basic Policy on integrated resorts was crafted with the primary goal of driving foreign tourists to Japan. The bill was also designed to afford lesser-known and visited prefectures and cities with a major amenity that better puts their locales on the map.

The purpose of this Act is to … contribute to the advancement of tourism and regional economies while facilitating the improvement of public finance,” Japan’s gaming law states.

In an effort to promote a foreign focus, Japan’s IR bill sets an entrance fee on Japanese residents. The law limits residents of Japan to entering a casino three times a week, or 10 times per 28 days.

Japanese residents must pay a JPY6,000 (US$54) entrance fee per visit.

Nagasaki forecasting that seven out of 10 of its IR customers would presumably be prefecture citizens isn’t exactly in line with the central government’s motive for bringing Japan casinos. However, there are only three candidate prefectures currently in the running, and Japan’s IR bill authorizes up to three IR licenses.

Nagasaki believes the earliest its IR could open would be sometime in 2027. Once up and running, prefecture officials believe 8.4 million people would annually visit the casino, with about six million of them being domestic patrons.

Nagasaki IR Plan

Casinos Austria’s IR consortium in Nagasaki includes Hyatt Hotels and local Japan-based business partners. The casino blueprint includes a gaming space measuring nearly 100,000 square feet with 2,200 slot machines and 220 table games, eight different hotels offering several thousand rooms, retail shopping, and meeting space.

As Nagasaki and the Casinos Austria-led consortium continue polishing their IR plan, Oshidori International — one of the IR pitches passed over by the prefecture — continues to levee accusations of fraudulent activity.

Inside Asian Gaming reports this week that Oshidori has requested that Nagasaki disclose a slew of documents and confidential materials related to the IR selection.

“The purpose of the series of the requests is to find if the entire selection process was fairly, professionally and ethically conducted,” an Oshidori attorney told the gaming media outlet. “Nagasaki Prefecture notified us that they will disclose relevant documents during October in accordance with the local ordinance but we are not sure how much information will be disclosed. We will examine carefully the disclosure documents and take further steps as necessary.”

Following Nagasaki picking Casinos Austria, Oshidori publicly questioned the fairness of the prefecture’s IR process.

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