The expert panel on integrated resorts (IRs) formed by the Japanese national government has rejected Nagasaki Prefecture's plan to develop a casino resort in Sasebo. The panel, led by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, raised concerns about the project's funding and a lack of clear commitment to preventing gambling addiction. Nagasaki's proposal, a JPY438.3 billion (US$3.07 billion) investment in a casino resort, hotel, and shopping mall in partnership with Casinos Austria, faced skepticism regarding its funding sources. The panel also questioned the location adjacent to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park, expressing doubts about its ability to attract sufficient visitors for projected economic benefits.
Nagasaki aimed to be among the first three prefectures in Japan to open a casino resort but now faces a setback. The panel's rejection leaves only Osaka with a plan for an IR, in collaboration with MGM Resorts International, estimated to cost JPY1.08 trillion (US$8.1 billion) and attract 20 million visitors annually, with a potential opening in 2030.
Despite the setback, Nagasaki remains hopeful and plans to review its proposal, addressing the concerns raised by the panel. The prefecture intends to work with the government to develop a regulatory framework for IRs, aiming to mitigate the negative impacts of gambling. Japanese officials suggest there could be opportunities for additional IRs in the future, offering Nagasaki another chance with an improved proposal.
The government may consider limiting the number of IRs in response to public criticism to protect the environment and ensure suitable locations for the expected influx of visitors. Nagasaki's revised plan will play a crucial role in its potential success in securing approval for an integrated resort.
By fLEXI tEAM