And the Winner Is: Nagasaki Chooses Its Integrated Resort Partner

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The battle for control of Nagasaki’s integrated resort (IR) is almost over. The prefecture has announced who it has chosen as its operator partner, although its possible that the decision might be contested. The conclusion of the selection process was not devoid of some unexpected twists, but it is now in the books and Nagasaki has selected Casinos Austria to help lead it into the future.

Nagasaki Has its Official Casino Partner

According to Masahiko Kunihiro of the Nagasaki IR Promotion Division, Casinos Austria is the prefecture’s official casino partner. The operator won the battle that included two other candidates, and will help shape Sasebo City in Nagasaki if the prefecture is chosen to host an IR by the Japanese National Diet. That decision won’t likely come until sometime next year.

In a statement by Nagasaki Governor Hodo Nakamura, he asserted, “On January 7th of this year, Nagasaki prefecture began the public tender selection for the Kyushu-Nagasaki integrated resort operator, and today we have selected Casinos Austria International Japan to receive priority negotiation rights.” The governor added, “Going forward, our next course of action is to come to a master agreement with the priority negotiation right holder. The prefecture will continue its efforts toward receiving national approval for developing an integrated resort in Nagasaki.”

Controversial Finish With No Instant Replay

The Nagasaki request for proposal (RFP) scoring system was designed to prevent government representatives from knowing which projects belonged to which candidates, ensuring that no bias existed in the scoring. Casinos Austria was chosen by the Kyushu-Nagasaki IR Operator Evaluation Committee after accumulating 697 points during the final evaluation. Oshidori International Development, which was partnered with Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE), finished with 682.8 points. In third place was NIKI Chyau (Parkview) Group, which accumulated 667.1 points.

Casinos Austria almost lost, as Oshidori was in the lead after the first round. It isn’t clear if recent decisions by Oshidori played a role in its loss. Although the company never officially withdrew its participation, according to Nagasaki officials, it released a statement four days before the results were announced, indicating that it was exiting the race. That left MGE in a very bad position with no time to find an alternative.

With the selection process completed, Casinos Austria will now work hand-in-hand with Nagasaki and the prefecture’s IR representatives to fine-tune the project that will be presented to the National Diet. The company, founded 54 years ago, has a lot of experience under its belt and now has 40 land-based casinos in 16 countries. It also operates shipboard casinos and slot parlors, as well as an online gambling platform.

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