In Japan, a Key District Moves Forward With IR Development

Published January 13, 2021 by Lee R

In Japan, a Key District Moves Forward With IR Development

Neighbouring a theme park with hotels, Sasebo looks like it will be the site of Japan's first IR.

Headway is being made in attracting IR bids in Japan's key IR district.

Nagasaki's Bids

The Nagasaki Prefectural Government has reportedly attracting seven operator bids for the Integrated Resort site that has been made available at Sasebo city's Huis Ten Bosch theme park.

The Nagasaki Shinbun has confirmed four bidders with three more rumored to be joining the bidding.

The Candidates

The four confirmed bidders are Casinos Austria; Oshidori International; Pixel Companyz; and a consortium comprised of Current Corporation; Get Nice Holdings; and Sofitel Ponte 16.

All that is known so far of the other three prospects is that two are US-based companies and one is Asian. A withdrawal by the former presumed front-runner Hokkaido is anticipated to draw more backers to new projects as well.

Strategic Timing

The deliberate process is turning out to be a strategic pace set by the presiding jurisdiction, after concerns that the process of installing IRs in Japan was stalling—in a region that is known to be leading with IR projects to introduce its first gambling regulation model.

The delays during the onset of the pandemic enabled Nagasaki Prefecture to contact more potential bidders, while preserving the bids, and interest, of other existing participants.

The Adjacent Theme Park

The Nagasaki opening particularly attractive to investors because the IR space up for bid is adjacent to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park, which already has an established traffic flow as Kyushu's top tourist attraction with a strip of boutique hotels.

Site Benefits

The existence of accommodations reduces investment costs for IR projects, both in terms of otherwise needing to build accommodations from scratch, and having a built-in source of traffic to provide a baseline of instant return revenue before investment in marketing.

New Leaf

Much of the traditional opposition to gaming projects has dissolved in the Nagasaki region, after many years of building support for the economic benefits and manageability of Integrated Resorts in a country that has never regulated gambling in any form.


With the permissions for gambling via IRs in place since 2018, the competitive benefits that Nagasaki is offering appear to be leading the movement towards implementation of the approved regulation model in Japan.

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