Nagasaki ends plans for integrated resort in Japan

Person throws paper in the trash

The Nagasaki government will no longer pursue an integrated resort as the application process would have to start over. [Image:]

end of the street

It looks like Nagasaki will no longer pursue an integrated resort (IR) project. The prefectural government said in a committee meeting on Wednesday that it would not submit an administrative review before the March 27 deadline.

The Japanese central government rejected this in December

It pursued an ambitious plan that the Japanese central government rejected in December, largely due to doubts among some investors and uncertainty about financing.

Lawmakers in the region said submitting a second application would be “extremely difficult” as it would require starting with selecting a different IR operator and location from the start. The plan was to develop a property next to an existing amusement park in Sasebo together with Casinos Austria.

No coming back

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism justified its decision to reject the application by saying it questioned the security of financing for the project, as the potential investors had not provided “objective materials supporting the security of financing.” Credit Suisse was supposed to provide the funds before the company ran into financial difficulties and was acquired by UBS in March 2023 for $3.2 billion.

Nagasaki chose Casinos Austria over Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment and France-based Groupe Partouche.

The ministry stressed that investors have changed significantly since the application was submitted in September and therefore it does not feel comfortable continuing with the original plan. There were also concerns about the minimal plans to prevent rising gambling addiction rates, as well as the viability of the site.

Nagasaki lawmakers estimated that the IR would attract 8.4 million visitors and bring economic benefits of ¥330 billion (US$2.2 billion) to the region each year. The company invested about 1.1 billion yen ($7.4 million) between fiscal years 2019 and 2023 to develop the proposal. After the rejection late last year, lawmakers in Nagasaki intended to review the plan and make appropriate corrections.

Last remaining prefecture

With Nagasaki ending its pursuit of an IR project, Osaka will be the only city in Japan to receive a casino. MGM Resorts International is leading this project, which is scheduled to open by fall 2030.

The central government in Japan legalized IRs in 2018, leaving three casino licenses up for grabs.

It is being built on an artificial island and is expected to be visited by 20 million people annually. The project’s expected cost is around 1.27 trillion yen (US$8.5 billion). The central government approved the plan in April 2023, saying at the time that it would need additional time to consider Nagasaki’s proposal.


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