Nagasaki Invites More IR Interest Ahead of the RFP Re-Launch

Officials from Nagasaki prefecture hinted at the possibility of extending the number of candidates to partner the prefecture in the development of an IR casino, a Thursday report in the Nagasaki Shimbun newspaper revealed. Japan’s prefecture is among the serious contenders to win one of the three integrated casino slots available nationwide.

New IR Interest

According to the newspaper report, Takeshi Komiya, Director of Nagasaki IR Promotion Division, implied during a prefectural council meeting that, besides the 3 long-standing candidates, new private-sector companies showed interest in the project.

“There is a possibility that other operators may also take part in the public tender. We are continuing to communicate with operators in order to have as many application(s) as we can.”

Takeshi Komiya, Director, IR Promotion Division, Nagasaki

Nagasaki prefecture cannot comment about the candidates to partner it for the casino project, but is open to continuing discussions with national and overseas operators until the public tender begins, noted an unnamed official from the prefecture cited by GGRAsia.

Private Sector Interest So Far

Until September, when Nagasaki decided to postpone its request-for-proposal (RFP) process, in line with expectations that the national process would be delayed, 3 major private sector companies expressed interest to participate in the IR project: Japan’s Current Corp., a local unit of Casinos Austria International Holding GmbH and Hong Kong-listed Oshidori International Holdings Ltd.

In November, Tokyo-listed Pixel Companyz Inc noted the consortium it leads may focus its efforts on Nagasaki to obtain a casino license in Japan, adding to the competition ahead of the re-launch of the RFP process. Recently, prefecture officials announced the application process for a private sector partner to develop the IR casino will re-start in January 2021.

RFP Re-Launch and Revised Timetable

Nagasaki announced the re-launch of the RFP alongside a new timetable and a consultation period to collect public opinions regarding its revised implementation policy, after adding in the revised draft guidelines to improve gambling addiction protection and mitigate risks of infectious virus transmission inside the gambling establishments.

The new timetable suggests the process of selecting a private-sector partner be completed between the summer and autumn in 2021, the IR development plan to be established in collaboration with the private company until the winter in 2021 at the latest, so that the prefecture can submit its IR application to the national government in the spring of 2022.

Nagasaki will develop an IR casino in the area nearby the Huis Ten Bosch theme park, spread across 31 hectares of land and strategically located to attract foreign visitors in addition to the local ones. The potential brought by 1.5 billion of population within a 1,500 km radius in the area should be enough to lure a high-caliber private-sector partner to develop the casino resort.

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