Nagasaki and Yokohama Continue Enthusiasm to Attract IR Approval

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Efforts to bring casino gambling to Japan continue, with the possibility that the final layout of the country’s inaugural integrated resort (IR) market will be revealed within a year. While that is behind the original schedule, progress is being made and several locations expected to compete to be one of the first IR hosts are close to wrapping up their initial plans. Nagasaki and Yokohama are included in that group, and each has revealed new steps taken recently to try to secure a place in Japan’s expanded gambling industry.

Nagasaki Welcomes a Community Effort

Nagasaki has several initiatives underway designed to not only show the national government that it deserves to be one of the first hosts, but also to show that the IR plan should be a community effort. According to Masahiko Kunihiro of the Nagasaki Integrated Resort Promotion Division, the second Kyushu/Nagasaki Global Tourism Human Workforce Development Seminar will be held this Saturday, presented by the Kyushu/Nagasaki International Tourism Human Talent Development Consortium Prep Committee.

The goal of these seminars is to show the local community the benefits the IR will have on the region, as well as to welcome cooperation from businesses to develop a robust tourism initiative. This latest seminar focuses on the “progress of international tourism human resources development in the region from an academic point of view and thinking about skills and training necessary for the next generation to play an active role on the international market by incorporating practical examples from the IR industry.”

Yokohama Impresses with IR Concepts

The city of Yokohama has provided a first look at the IR designs that have been tentatively submitted by the two casino operators hoping to be chosen. Melco Resorts & Entertainment and Genting Singapore are the last two companies standing after several others were eliminated, and their concepts are meant to dazzle and amaze. For those who want to see them first-hand, the concepts will be on display at Yokohama’s City Hall until August 7.

Yokohama has had a little bit of blowback to its plans to host an IR. There has been a degree of resistance that could cause an issue when the national government makes its final decision, and local elections might also throw a monkey wrench into the works. Still, Melco and Genting are optimistic about the future possibilities, with Melco President Evan Winkler stating this week, “We’ve maintained our Yokohama First strategy. That continues to be a focus of the company… [The] incumbent mayor has come out and is running on a pro-IR platform. There are a variety of other candidates who have come out against IR. Some of these things are simply beyond our control and we’ll know more after the election takes place in Yokohama on August 22.”

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