October 1, 2021 3 min read


Real Madrid, World Surf League and More Are Part of Nagasaki’s IR Plans

Nagasaki, Japan is determined to find approval for its integrated resort (IR) project. Based on a new update, the prefecture has dedicated a considerable amount of time and resources to create what can only be described as an entire city connected to the property. The plan still needs to be approved by the Japanese Diet, but, with a new prime minister coming in who supports IRs, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Nagasaki Lays Out Plans with Casinos Austria

At the beginning of August, Nagasaki announced that it had chosen Casinos Austria as its casino partner to help bring an IR to life in the prefecture. The decision didn’t sit well with the company’s competitors, but there’s always a winner and loser in every race. According to Masahiko Kunihiro of Nagasaki’s IR Promotion Division, the reasons for Casinos Austria being selected are now very clear.

Casinos Austria is active in 35 countries and has substantial experience in the hospitality sector. It also has significant experience in anti-money-laundering and gambling addiction prevention. In addition to casinos and hospitality, the company is also experienced in culture and arts, which will play a huge role in the IR development in Nagasaki.

In addition to Casinos Austria’s strengths as a hospitality provider, which allowed it to score higher than its competitors in the IR qualification process, there is also likely a geopolitical aspect that has been considered. The Nagasaki update explains how the project will include a “merger of Far-Eastern and Western cultures.” Austria and Japan have had “close relations” for 150 years, and the solidification of the IR agreement will strengthen that union.

A Truly Global Tourist Resort Emerges

The idea that an IR is nothing more than a glorified casino quickly disintegrates when looking at the plans Casinos Austria and Nagasaki have. There will be significant facilities for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) events, “cool” Japanese initiatives that combine “traditional arts with new technology,” four hotels, hot springs, beach resorts, museums and more.

There will also be “content for everyone,” with Japan hosting a Real Madrid School and the World Surf League. Direct from Austria, the National Theatre in Vienna will collaborate with the local governments to prepare and organize music events and more. Of course, the casino will still be a significant part of the resort, but will not be the primary focus.

Japan’s Inbound Prime Minister Supports IRs

When Shinzo Abe first announced that he would not try to continue as Japan’s Prime Minister, there were some initial, albeit superficial, concerns that the country’s IR plans could fall apart. Those fears were quickly allayed, however, when it looked like the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) was going to retain power. Now, there’s no doubt the country will continue working on introducing IRs.

Fumio Kishida was selected by the LDP to be the party’s new leader and he just won an election against Taro Kono to become Japan’s next Prime Minister. Originally one of the supporters of the country’s IR initiatives, Kishida is ready to usher in a new era, one that includes IRs.

If everything goes according to plan, Nagasaki hopes to see its IR come to life in 2027.


Erik brings his unique writing talents and storytelling flare to cover a wide range of gambling topics. He has written for a number of industry-related publications over the years, providing insight into the constantly evolving world of gaming. A huge sports fan, he especially enjoys football and anything related to sports gambling. Erik is particularly interested in seeing how sports gambling and online gaming are transforming the larger gaming ecosystem.

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