Nagasaki Prefecture to Proceed with IR National Application

Nagasaki Prefecture to Proceed with IR National Application

Nagasaki became the second prefecture in Japan to approve submission of its application for an integrated casino resort following the approval of the plan during a meeting of the prefecture’s assembly on Wednesday.

Nagasaki IR Bid to Move Forward

The assembly of Nagasaki Prefecture approved a bill to seek authorization from the national government to build an integrated resort (IR) featuring a casino. The prefecture will submit its application in partnership with Casinos Austria, the casino operator it selected as a private sector partner in August 2021, by the deadline on April 28.

The IR project to build the integrated casino resort at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo City, which is part of Nagasaki Prefecture, would need funds of ¥438.3 billion ($3.4 billion) to cover construction works and other development costs.

Of the total, ¥175.3 billion ($1.36 billion) will be via equity but the only equity investor mentioned in the plan is Casinos Austria, Nagasaki Prefecture’s private sector partner. There was also speculation that the American real estate investment firm CBRE Group Inc. will also be involved in the funding.

Last week, the Sasebo City Council voted formally in favor of Nagasaki’s IR District Development Plan while also raising concerns related to the source of funding for the project as Nagasaki authorities are yet to reveal where the money for the development would be coming from.

The prefectural government is expecting the IR resort to attract 6.73 million visitors and earn ¥271.6 billion ($2.11 billion) of revenue in the fiscal year 2031 if the property opens to the public around the autumn of 2027.

Setback for Wakayama

And while Nagasaki became the second prefecture to confirm its IR application to the national government, following in the footsteps of Osaka in partnership with MGM Resorts International, another strong candidate to compete for one of three integrated casino resort slots nationally, Wakayama, voted against the prefecture’s plan.

The 18-22 vote at the prefectural assembly took place on the same day Nagasaki’s assembly voted in favor of its prefectural IR plan. The main reason for the rejection was the fundraising plan which assembly members said was unclear.

Wakayama wants to build a casino IR on the artificial island in the city of Wakayama, Marina City, at a cost of approximately ¥470 billion ($3.65 billion). Similar to Nagasaki, the prefecture aimed to open the casino resort to the public in the autumn of 2027.

Author: Ian Douglas