Nagasaki demands traffic help in IR bid proposals

Nagasaki, Japan at night

There’s a new requirement for the potential casino operator of a Nagasaki prefecture integrated resort (IR) bid. Whoever gets the deal will have to agree to a JPY 14.7 billion ($141 million) contribution towards traffic infrastructure.

Nagasaki, Japan at night

Although Nagasaki is a long ways away from choosing its IR partner, the city council of Sasebo agreed to the requirement at a January 26 meeting, Inside Asia Gaming reports. Applications opened to operators for an IR bid on January 7, and an operator is expected to be selected in August.

Whichever operator is lucky enough to win the bid has a lot of expectations put on them. Nagasaki expects them to not only pay for infrastructure, but to also fund problem gambling initiatives, MICE and surrounding area developments. IF everything goes to the current plan, construction of the new IR would begin in 2023.

Although Japan’s stated goal is to boost tourist arrivals to 60 million by the end of the decade, Covid-19 has all timelines looking rather questionable. Cities like Osaka were hoping to get their bids in by now, but instead are in a holding pattern, as the national IR process waits for the pandemic to blow over.

The national government has set a goal to boost foreign tourist arrivals into Japan to 60 million by 2030 and Nagasaki hopes to contribute to this target with the revitalization of the local area through an IR.

While this plan of Nagasaki’s doesn’t sound like it would be all that attractive to a casino operator, it may be the only plan with a hope of lasting through domestic politics. Yokohama’s IR plan may end up in the bind, as domestic politics are raising concerns over the harms of gambling have resulted in recall votes and public referendums. If Nagasaki can sell to local citizens the idea that a casino will handle all the dirty work and bring in the riches of increased tourism, perhaps they can do a better job with their bid.