Nagasaki Votes Yes to Japan Casino Resort, While Wakayama Pulls Out

  • The Nagasaki Prefecture has approved its casino resort bill by a majority vote
  • On the same day, a Wakayama Prefecture Assembly rejected plans for an IR
  • A Wakayama Assembly member labeled the fund-raising plan “vague and uncertain”
  • Only Nagasaki, Osaka, and dark horse Fukuoka are left in the race for Japan’s first IR
Nagasaki skyline
The race for Japan’s first casino resort is down to just Nagasaki, Osaka, and potentially Fukuoka, after Wakayama voted no to an IR. [Image:]

Nagasaki in, Wakayama out

Just seven days before the April 28 deadline for the selection of an integrated resort (IR) in Japan, the Assembly of the Nagasaki Prefecture approved its casino resort bill by a majority vote.

requires procurement funds totaling ¥438.3bn ($3.42bn)

The Nagasaki prefectural government will next submit the IR plan to the central government. The city’s project requires procurement funds totaling ¥438.3bn ($3.42bn) to cover the casino resort’s construction and other necessary expenses.

Nagasaki’s plans are to open the IR in the city of Sasebo around autumn 2027. The prefectural government projects the casino resort will draw 6.73 million annual visitors. The administrative body expects to rake in ¥271.6bn ($2.12bn) of revenue “in fiscal 2031, beginning in April of that year,” reports The Japan Times.

In contrast, on Wednesday, the Wakayama Prefecture rejected plans for an IR. According to the Asahi Shimbun, Wakayama’s Assembly members slammed the fund-raising component as “sloppy.”

Caesars loses out

One of the biggest corporate casualties of Wakayama’s decision to exit the IR race is Caesars Entertainment, which formed part of a consortium to develop a casino resort in the prefecture.

labeled the prefecture’s fundraising plan unclear

According to Japanese media reports, the Assembly voted down the Wakayama IR after it labeled the prefecture’s fundraising plan unclear. The Wakayama IR sought a starting investment of ¥470bn ($3.67bn), with 70% via loans and 30% from investors. The Credit Suisse Group planned to head a syndicate of banks to furnish the loans.

Concerns arose when members of an Assembly special committee said that Clairvest Neem Ventures (CNV) — a subsidiary of Canada’s Clairvest Group, which would have become the main operator of the IR — had received no written promise from Credit Suisse that it would provide the loans.

“The fund-raising plan is vague and uncertain, so the central government won’t accept the project,” said Kazumi Yoshii, a local Assembly member.

The Asahi Shimbun also cites one committee member who noted the low percentage of Japanese firms involved in the project as a negative factor.

Who’s left in the race?

Wakayama Governor, Yoshinobu Nisaka, told the Japanese press that the prefecture may give the IR project “another try if the new opportunity comes.” For now, Wakayama is out of the running. This leaves Osaka, Nagasaki, and the eleventh-hour dark horse, Fukuoka.

As reported by The Japan Times, the Osaka Prefecture and its capital city will submit their already approved IR development plan to the central government soon. A group that includes MGM Resorts International is in line for the Osaka casino resort license.

Late last month, Bally’s Corporation revealed its intention to raise and operate a ¥480bn (US$3.94bn) IR in Fukuoka, despite the city not yet announcing any interest in becoming an IR location. Bally’s believes if lawmakers decide against Nagasaki, Osaka, or Wakayama, Fukuoka could prove the perfect replacement.

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