With a lot of time between now and whenever the first Japanese integrated resort (IR) is expected to open, there’s plenty of changes happening in Osaka, Nagasaki and Yokohama, three of the leading cities to gain licenses. Each made news recently, opening up new possibilities for Japan’s casino future.
In Osaka, a bid previously though to be a lock for MGM might now be competitive again. With news that Osaka’s IR likely won’t open until the late 2020s, the city and prefecture have announced that the application process has now been reopened. “Following this policy change, Osaka Prefecture and Osaka City have ensured fairness and fairness,” the governments announced, as per NHK news “Therefore, we will accept applications from other businesses as well.”
The news must come as a shock to MGM, who’ve been the only potential partner for an Osaka IR since February 2020. With a tough year passed, and knowing there’s no longer a rush to meet a 2025 opening date, Osaka is willing to take more time and consider other options.
Nagasaki, which has come on strong as an IR contender in recent weeks, have revealed their 5 potential partners for an IR license. Casinos Austria Japan, Current Group, Niki Chau Fwu (Parkview), One Kyushu (TTL Resorts), and the Oshidori consortium were listed by the prefecture. With their own plans citing a late 2020’s opening, the prefecture added: “The prefecture is aiming to attract IR by utilizing the site of the large resort facility “Huis Ten Bosch” in Sasebo City.”
The Oshidori consortium is a notable contender, having partnered up with Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment in late January, 2021. The pair hope to build an IR that highlights the culture and diversity of the area. To do so, they’ll have to help out with local infrastructure, as per the demands of the Nagasaki government.
Yokohama, who’s own IR bid seems the least likely to succeed, announced they have approved one operator as a potential partner, without naming which. Other potential partners have until May 17 to get their proposals in to the city.