Nagasaki prefecture keeps hope of hosting IR alive amid COVID-19 pandemic

Nagasaki prefecture keeps hope of hosting IR alive amid COVID-19 pandemic

Keeping its hope of hosting a massive gaming event alive amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture is going to commence the process of recruiting an integrated resort (IR) partner by the end of this month.

The Japanese region is moving ahead with its plans to become a gaming destination and is expected to conclude the process of a partner selection sometime in August. The prefecture has set an ambitious aim to win one of the three gaming licenses that the Japanese government is going to award in the first phases of opening the country to the gaming operators.

However, the Nagasaki prefecture is not alone in the race as the country’s three biggest metropolitan areas, namely Osaka, Tokyo and Yokohama, are also working out their plans to grab the same license. If Nagasaki fails to start the procedure of selecting a partner by the end of July, it will not be able to meet the schedule.

According to a report published by local daily newspaper Nagasaki Shimbun, “Nagasaki set an operator selection period of sometime in summer, and the procedure will have to begin by the end of July or we will not meet the schedule.”

Nagasaki authorities have plans to get the proposed IR complex developed on land at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park, which is encircled by Sasebo city’s prefectural boundary. According to plans of the local authorities, the complex must be equipped with a high-tech gambling facility and offer various facilities for both domestic and international tourists. 

An IR in the Land of Rising Sun refers to an all-inclusive leisure and entertainment complex equipped with a gambling facility, space for conventions and exhibitions, along with various other facilities for tourists. Currently, three candidates are in the race for the Nagasaki prefecture, namely Current Corporation, Oshidori International, and Casinos Austria International. Current Corporation could emerge as the prefecture’s preferred partner as it is already based in Japan and holds strong experience in the field of gaming.

On a national scale, Japan has plans to run a formal bidding process for IR licenses from 4th of January through 30th of July next year. However, some experts have raised concerns that the devastating COVID-19 pandemic could force authorities to postpone the process. A number of prefectures, including Hokkaido and Wakayama, have either delayed their request for proposal plans or have ditched their plans to participate in the bidding process.