January 28, 2019 3 min read


Integrated Resort (IR) Plans Progress in Japan

Thanks to the efforts of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan is going to see an Integrated Resort (IR) project developed by 2025. No official government partner has been selected yet, but three regions have emerged as favorites.

Three Regions in Japan Prepared to Build an IR

Japan managed to clear the legal hurdles ahead of its Integrated Resort (IR) initiative back in 2018. Voted through all chambers of parliament, the national government has officially endorsed the idea of going ahead with an IR on its territory, offering opportunity to three international casinos to be among the first to develop their property on-site.

Now, Kyodo News has reported that three prefectures are making a strong push to be the first to build their resort. Amongst them, the prefecture of Osaka stands out. Meanwhile, the Wakayama and Nagasaki Prefectures are also considering their options, with Osaka confirmed to start its bidding process in the first quarter of 2019.

Finding a Commercial Partner First

The application process has several mandatory stops. First, any prefecture or city willing to host the resort will have to find a commercial partner, i.e. a casino developer/international brand. So far, multiple companies have expressed their desire to be among the first, including Hard Rock and MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment.

Hard Rock International Revels Full-Scale Japan IR Model

Once a commercial partnership has been successful secured, the applying party will need to submit their plan to the national government, which will debate whether the project promises to be sustainable and offer sufficient economic edge to the local government and the country.

The application process can be carried out by a sole prefecture or city, or as a partnership between two, or more participants. In the case of Osaka Prefecture, the local lawmakers are applying alongside the city of Osaka, giving them a slight edge over competition.

More Locations Considering Applying for a Permit

Even though the initial interest for the Integrated Resort (IR) may seem tepid, there are more local governments throughout Japan considering a similar move. Based on Kyodo News account, Tokyo, Hokkaido, Ibaraki and the cities of Chiba and Yokohama are also interested in potentially hosting an IR.

There are another 17 undecided governments, which are still deliberating whether they should proceed with an application. Not everyone has been particularly keen on the move, though. For example, Miyagi Prefecture’s government has said that they didn’t want to risk deteriorating public safety concerns nor have to address an increase in the number of problem gamblers in their region.

In order to curb addiction, Japanese visitors will be charged $55 per single casino entrance and they would be limited in the number of times they can visit these properties. International visitors, on the other hand, will be free to enter and stay as much as they want to.


Simon is a freelance writer who specializes in gambling news and has been an author in the poker/casino scene for 10+ years. He brings valuable knowledge to the team and a different perspective, especially as a casual casino player.

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