Nagasaki sets the record straight about casino proposals

by Charlotte Lee Last Updated
Japanese PM heralds future integrated resorts as tourism drivers

Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan has hit out at claims that its casino request-for-proposal process hasn’t been conducted in a fair manner.

GGR Asia reports the authority added that it would continue to act in a fair manner as it prepares to create its national integrated resort development plan application.

The latter was a reference to an integrated resort, as large-scale casino complexes with tourism facilities are known in Japan, and to the fact that local governments must apply to national authorities for the right to host such a development.

On August 10, prefectural authorities in Nagasaki said they had selected Casinos Australia International as their priority choice, as partner for the local government’s tilt at having a casino resort.

But it was reported in Japanese media that another of the contenders, Niki Chyau Fwu Group, a Japanese enterprise, had questioned the integrity of Nagasaki’s selection process.

Even before the selection of Casinos Austria had been announced, the other suitor among the three courting Nagasaki, Oshidori International Development, had issued a statement saying it was considering withdrawing from the process, unless it was “conducted in an ethical manner”.

One of the issues raised subsequently was the fairness or otherwise, of Nagasaki’s application of background-check tests relating to the suitor organisations.

Nagasaki’s Integrated Resort Promotion Division said: “Casinos Austria International Japan was chosen as the priority rights holder after an overall evaluation of five different evaluation sections.”

It added: “The background checks have been applied equally to all of the applicants.”

Nagasaki prefecture was asked whether it had received any complaints or requests to re-evaluate the review process relating to the Nagasaki IR partner candidates and their respective business proposals.

The authority replied: “Since the tender is not yet completed, information regarding the individual applicants cannot be disclosed in order to complete a fair tendering process”.

Up to three casino resorts will be permitted in Japan, under the liberalisation framework.

Nagasaki said it expects to make its own submission to the national government by spring 2022.

Wakayama finalised casino proposal

Elsewhere in Wakayama, prefecture governor Yoshinobu Nisaka announced that Clairvest Neem Ventures, a subsidiary of Canadian investment firm Clairvest Group, had been selected to proceed with the prefecture’s bid.

This makes Clairvest the first integrated resort operator partner to be announced among the four regions known to be pursuing one of three integrated resort licences to be issued by Japan’s national government, the others being Osaka, Yokohama and Nagasaki.

The prefecture is hoping to open its facility in spring 2026 although Clairvest has proposed autumn 2027.

According to published information, Clairvest’s integrated resort concept is based on a theme of “land of wood and a land of water” with nature at its core.

Clairvest offers Wakayama reassurance about casino venture

The total floor area would be about 569,000 square metres, of which a casino facility will cover around 38,000 square metres.

It will also offer 2700 rooms and an international exhibition hall with a large conference hall that can accommodate 3000 people.

Notably, Clairvest has proposed an investment of US$4.3 billion versus U$2.6 billion suggested by Wakayama under its fundamental concept.

Both the scale of the investment and target number of visitors put forward by Clairvest are much larger than Wakayama’s own estimations.

The integrated resort is planned to be built on an artificial island called Wakayama Marina City.

The selection of Clairvest comes after Suncity Group withdrew from the race, citing an uncertain global business environment.

It was recently revealed that Suncity had in fact scored higher than Clairvest based on the selection committee’s initial assessment.

Their absence had sparked suggestions Wakayama may itself withdraw from the Japanese integrated resort race, but after deciding to name Clairvest as its partner, the Governor said: “We can take the next step with confidence. Moreover, we will probably be able to obtain national approval if we improve on the plan.”

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