Nagasaki casino operators banned from investing in other local ventures

by William Brown Last Updated
Nagasaki casino operators banned from investing in other local ventures

A rule preventing anyone holding a minimum five per cent stake in any local integrated resort bid from bidding for other locations has always been part of Nagasaki’s bidding rules, the prefecture said.

Inside Asian Gaming reports that Nagasaki officials announced last January that any five per cent or more stakeholders still involved in any of the prefecture’s ongoing bids as part of its request for proposals would not be allowed to participate elsewhere as of June 2021.

The rule was reiterated via a press release in the wake of an announcement that the five original candidates to develop an integrated resort in Nagasaki had been cut to three: Casinos Austria International Japan, NIKI Chyau Fwu (Parkview) Group and Oshidori Consortium.

A Nagasaki official confirmed that “after submitting the second round screening documents in June 2021, those who plan to fund five per cent or more of the project are not allowed to participate in another private operator selection process related to specific complex tourist facilities in Japan.”

Asked about the basis of the five per cent rule, the official said: “There are no previous examples to go off of, so this is an original rule made by Nagasaki prefecture. It was decided based on consultation with legal counsel and others employed for the RFP and other processes.”

An industry stakeholder said that the rule makes sense.

“You don’t see professional athletes playing for multiple teams. Even if one company applied for multiple candidate locations, it would be difficult to be selected. I think it’s best to focus on just one location.”

Nagasaki’s selection schedule going forward will include a detailed integrity character investigation in May, followed by submission of additional operator documents in June and presentations by applicants in August.

The successful candidate is expected to be announced at the end of August.

Nagasaki emphasised that the documentation required for this round would be final proposals from each of the candidates.

Five operators pitch for Nagasaki integrated resort

Nagasaki’s quest to host one of Japan’s three integrated resort casinos has taken another step, with five groups submitting documents in a move to qualify for the project.

GGR Asia reported in February that an announcement by the prefectural integrated resort promotion division announced that five parties were interested in casino operations in Nagasaki, but the entities involved weren’t named.

Hodo Nakamura, Nagasaki prefecture’s governor, said they were drawn from Europe, the United States and Asia.

The Japanese local government authority would like to create a casino resort on land at Sasebo city.

Under the timetable mentioned at the start of January, it is anticipated that in March, Nagasaki will announce the result of a “first round selection”, narrowing to three, the number of private-sector would-be partners for an integrated resort scheme.

Nagasaki’s integrated resort promotion division reiterated on Friday that in May, Nagasaki planned a “probity test” on the entities on its IR-partner shortlist.

August would see project presentations, and thereafter, selection of an integrated resort operator by the prefectural government.

Japanese local governments interested in having a casino resort complex must first find a private sector partner, then apply to the national government to host one.

A December 18 announcement by Japan’s government, the same day it confirmed the national basic policy on integrated resorts, reiterated that the central authorities would start accepting local government submissions from October 1, 2021, with a closing date of April 28, 2022.

By “springtime” 2022, there will be a resolution on Nagasaki’s casino resort scheme by the prefectural government and Sasebo City Council, before their submission to the national government, according to the prefecture’s schedule.

A national assessment process for Japan’s casino resort scheme will take place during “autumn to winter” of 2022, the timetable stated.

Were Nagasaki to receive approval, 2023 would see the conclusion of the integrated resort implementation between Nagasaki prefecture and the integrated resort operation, in order to start construction.

The opening of any Nagasaki scheme should take place during the “latter half of the 2020s”, the local government’s rundown stated.

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