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Casino operator Hard Rock International ready to go in Japan

Tue, Jan 15, 12:35pm by Staff Writer

Casino operator Hard Rock International Inc has given further detail on its proposal to develop a casino resort in the city of Tomakomai, Japan.

The city is on the island of Hokkaido and is a popular destination for international tourists.

In a January 11 press release, Hard Rock detailed their plans that include monorail access to the airport, a guitar-shaped hotel tower, an additional Four Seasons hotel, an entertainment venue, theatres, a health and wellbeing centre and more than 215,000 square feet of retail and dining space.

There will be a focus on an authentic Ainu village experience, with the Ainu people being a local indigenous population.

Hard Rock has also announced a number of key partnerships with prominent global brands.

They are expanding on their 12-year relationship with the New York Yankees baseball team, with Hard Rock looking to expand its NYY Steak concept and New York Yankee experience at its Tomakomai destination.

The latest facial recognition and security services will be integrated into its resorts thanks to a partnership with NEC.

Music, snow festivals & football

In addition, Hard Rock International will seek to bring praise and awareness to the musical accomplishments of Japanese, Asian and global artists through the music Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.

Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment will exclusively King Kong to Japanese audiences in a pledge to bring premier Broadway Theatre to Japanese audiences.

“Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment has a long history of working in Asia, and we are extremely excited about partnering with Hard Rock International,” Robert Nederlander Jr, chairman and chief executive officer of Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment said.

Chairman and chief executive officer of Hard Rock International Jim Allen announced plans for Hard Rock to participate in Hokkaido’s world famous Sapporo Snow Festival, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

In commemoration, Hard Rock Japan is constructing a massive snow sculpture, towering over four stories and showcasing famous Japanese animated rock star Hatsune Miku as a full 3D holographic.

“We are extremely excited about the prospect of introducing our Hard Rock family to the people of Hokkaido, Japan with this world-class entertainment resort,” Mr Allen said.

Hard Rock has signaled its interest in developing a casino in Tomakomai since June 2018, according to GGR Asia.

Hard Rock’s senior vice president for casino business development in Asia Daniel Cheng said the company had: “disavowed any of the other [possible] locations” for a casino resort in Japan.

The Integrated Resorts Implementation Bill was passed by the Japanese parliament in July, which proposes an initial cap of three casino resorts nationwide.

Aside from Osaka, Yokohama and Wakayama, Hokkaido was among one of the locations being touted for an integrated resort according to investment analysts.

Up to three casino projects will be permitted at yet-to-be determined locations under a first wave of casino liberalization.

Hard Rock unveiled the latest details on its Tomakomai project during the lavish two-day “Hokkaido IR Showcase”.

The event took place last week and featured representatives from numerous US-based gaming operations including Caesars Entertainment Corp and US regional tribal casino operator Mohegan Sun.

Hard Rock has been investing in developing its public profile in Hokkaido by sponsoring the Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo Professional Soccer Club.

During his visit last week, Mr Allen contributed a personal check of US$100,000 to the football clubs Hokkaido Earthquake Charitable Relief Fund for residents affected by an earthquake last September.

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