Nagasaki eyes summer start on casino RFP, partner by winter

Japan’s Nagasaki prefecture still intends to start “in summer” a request-for-proposal (RFP) process to identify possible private-sector partners for the local government’s tilt at hosting a casino resort.

By “winter” this year it hopes to have selected a partner, according to Nagasaki’s governor Hodo Nakamura, cited in a memo to GGRAsia from the Integrated Resort Promotion Division of the Nagasaki prefectural government

In the Japan context, “integrated resort” or “IR” refers to a large-scale leisure complex featuring a casino and also space for conventions and exhibitions, along with other tourism facilities.

Up to three such venues will be permitted in Japan in a first phase of liberalisation. After selecting a partner, local governments will need to submit their plan to the national authorities for consideration. Nagasaki would like to host such a venue on land at the Huis Ten Bosch theme park within the prefectural boundary at Sasebo city (pictured).

The local government confirmed to GGRAsia it had recently concluded a three-week period of what it termed “explanatory sessions” targeted at potential RFP participants, in order to explain the community’s requirements regarding an IR.

The IR promotion spokesperson declined to discuss either the topics discussed in the sessions, or the entities involved, citing commercial confidentiality.

“In order to select the best IR partner for the prefecture and the local community, Nagasaki prefecture will continue to keep an open dialogue until the start of the RFP procedure, with full consideration for domestic and international situations,” the promotion division added in its update to GGRAsia, appearing to refer latterly to the situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

Several commentators have warned that the Covid-19 crisis might delay the process whereby local governments in Japan apply to the national authorities for the right to host an IR.

The current timetable is for local governments to do so within the first seven months of 2021.