Nagasaki could have an integrated resort open sometime in 2025, potentially beating rival Japanese regions to the punch, assuming the prefecture can win approval from the federal government in 2021.
The prefecture’s Budget Committee notes in a recent document that if the Huis Ten Bosch area in Sasebo City is confirmed as home to a gaming property in 2021, the venue could be open by 2025, possibly giving the area leg up on competing locations. For example, it is widely believed that in Osaka – where MGM Resorts International is looking to land a gaming license – 2025 is viewed as too ambitious of a timeline for opening a gaming property.
Under Nagasaki’s schedule, there will be an open recruitment call for operators from April to autumn, after which the selection committee will choose its operator partner and submit a joint application to the central government sometime between 4 January 2021 and July 2021,” reports Inside Asian Gaming.
Prefecture authorities would like an integrated resort to be located near the planned Huis Ten Bosch theme park, which is slated to open as early as April 2025 and as late as April 2026. NagaCorp, one of the operators vying for a Nagasaki license, has expressed interest in bringing a gaming venue to the theme park area.
Current and Oshidori International – two Hong Kong-based firms — and Casinos Austria are among the other operators that are eyeing Nagasaki.
While the region lacks the population of Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka – Japan’s three largest cities and areas widely viewed as the leaders in terms of landing the initial batch of three gaming licenses – Nagasaki is viewed as appealing to smaller operators due to lower costs.
Big-name gaming companies eyeing Yokohama, such as Las Vegas Sands and Melco Resorts, have signaled that the spend on a single integrated resort in that city could be at least $10 billion, making it the most expensive gaming property on record.
Conversely, a gaming property in Nagasaki would carry a price tag of about $5 billion, though some estimates are even more tame, residing in the $4 billion to $4.3 billion range.
All About Tourism
As is the case with other areas of the Land of the Rising Sun competing to become casino gaming destinations, the prospects of increased tourism have Nagasaki in the game.
A 2017 article by National Geographic indicates the prefecture – one of two areas where the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan in 1945 – has benefited from “dark tourism,” or visitors’ desire to see sites tied to controversial historical events.
Official data indicates the region is a popular tourist destination. But with the help of an integrated resort, annual visits could increase to 6.9 million to 9.3 million. A gaming property could also be meaningful for the tax base because as many as 36,000 new jobs could be created.