Chiba pulls out of Japanese IR contention
The Japanese city of Chiba said earlier this week that it will not seek to host a casino resort, citing its priority on reconstruction following natural disasters.
The Japan Times reports the central government plans to open casino resorts at up to three locations and Chiba was considering a bid.
“Campaigning to host an IR would take a lot of energy at a time when we need to place our top priority on post-disaster reconstruction and restoration,” Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai told a news conference.
He said the city’s decision has nothing to do with the unfolding bribery scandal involving some lawmakers, including a former state minister who was in charge of the government’s casino resort policy.
On Tuesday, the government launched a body to regulate and supervise casinos that will be opened in the country.
Public prosecutors are still investigating the bribery case.
Yokohama will continue working on a bid to host a casino as the government is “moving ahead as scheduled”, a city official said.
Speaking to reporters the same day, Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui reiterated the city’s hope of opening a resort by the end of fiscal 2026.
The introduction of casino resorts is “aimed at developing Japan as a tourism-oriented country,” and the new Casino Regulatory Commission was established to “shut out shady operators” sat Matsui, who also leads Nippon Ishin no Kai.
In the scandal, Nippon Ishin lawmaker Mikio Shimoji has admitted that he received money from 500.com, a Chinese company that was hoping to establish a casino in Japan.
He left the party on Tuesday.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government has not said whether it will enter the bidding.
Governor Yuriko Koike has told reporters there was no change in the metropolitan government’s stance.
Nagasaki is a Japanese casino dark horse
The competition to host a casino resort in Japan is stiff.
Casino Buzz reported in December that there are seven contenders vying to host a casino in Japan.
There were eight cities, but Hokkaido pulled out of the race, citing environmental concerns.
Japan is planning to grant licenses to three contenders in its first phase of gambling expansion.
These three would need to be world-class luxury integrated casino resorts.
For investors and operators eyeing a casino license in Japan, it is going to be wild.
While the average expectation of cities is that investors come with a plan that involves minimum spends of 7 to 8 billion dollars, the city of Nagasaki is expecting an investment of up to $5 billion on its integrated resort project.
While it remains unclear which cities will be hosting a casino, it is reported there could be two big casinos, one each in two big cities and one reserved for a smaller town.
That is where Nagasaki comes into the fold.
It is looking to host a casino at Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo city located in the region of Kyushu.
It is reported that mayor Kenji Kitahashi is already in touch with prospective casino operators.
He is said to have contacted three investors interested in developing a casino in the city.
Nagasaki already has four gambling operators interested in a project in its city, which launched a request for concept procedure earlier this year.
While it received several applications, many pulled out.
Currently, four companies are interested in a casino in Nagasaki.
While one of the companies has voluntarily chosen to remain anonymous, the three companies that participated in the RFC are Current Corp, Casino Austria International Japan Inc and Oshidori International Development Ltd.
The Japanese casino gambling industry is expected to become the third largest after Macau and Nevada.