Mohegan Gaming Opens Office in Japan for IR Bid

  • Mohegan Gaming pushes for Tomakomai IR project
  • In June 2019, the company vowed up to $4.5bn to develop the resort
  • Caesars Entertainment is the only operator to drop out of the race

Flagship tribal casino operator Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment has opened a first office in Tomakomai, Hokkaido prefecture, Japan in a bid to secure a place in the upcoming Integrated Resort due to arrive in 2024.Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment Opens Office in Japan

Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment Opens Office in Japan

U.S. tribal operator Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment has opened a new office in Hokkaido, one of Japan’s frontrunners for an Integrated Resort (IR) project. Located in Tomakomai, Mohegan’s Japanese operations will seek a way to bid successfully for the right to help build one of the three permissible IR facilities that will arrive in Japan within the next decade.

While Mohegan Gaming is sorting out logistics, the Hokkaido prefecture would need to apply successfully for the IR project, which is still subject to debate. So far, eight places around the country are interested in hosting the project, expecting substantial economic windfall.

Meanwhile, Mohegan Gaming is stepping its efforts in Asia, and specifically through its INSPIRE brand in South Korea. Similarly, the operator has already floated the INSPIRED Entertainment Resort Hokkaido.

Prospects of Integrated Resort (IR) in Japan

The landscape for opening an Integrated Resort has become increasingly competitive overt he past few months. To address the race for a national license, Tomakomai has set up an IR business council, receiving bids and hosting public discussions over the past few months.

Yet, the city is not entirely sure that it would go ahead and bid for the IR – a decision is expected to come by the end of the year. Meanwhile Osaka has given the go-ahead for the Yumeshima site, as a possible site for a future resort.

Speaking of Osaka, MGM Resorts has been actively trying to establish a footprint in the region. The brand’s Japanese subsidiary sponsored the 10th Yosakoi Osaka Tournament held on October 12 and October 13, seeking to boost its presence. Similarly, MGM is also the MLB title sponsor in the country.

Many businesses are now on the move to secure a spot in Japan. To do so, they will first need to pick a prefecture and a city which is already considering bidding. Then, by promising to commit an investment, local authorities may decide whether pushing ahead with a bid for a permit from the national government is worth it.

Mohegan Gaming revealed a concept for a Tomakomai project in June, arguing that it would invest between $3.5 billion and $4.5 billion to develop a casino resort in the area. Mohegan is hardly the only brand to do so, with Hard Rock International Inc. also proffering some details timidly.

In fact, the only operator to drop out of the race as of today is Caesars Entertainment, which has been busy with a $17.3-billion restructuring deal which will see the company merge with Eldorado Resorts Inc. Shareholders will need to decide whether they agree of the move on November 15.

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