Japanese Central Government Turns Down Nagasaki’s IR Plans Due To Uncertainty Around Funding

It was recently reported that the Japanese government, more specifically the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, turned down a plan to officially open a Las Vegas-style casino-centered integrated resort (IR) in Nagasaki Prefecture. The primary reason for this is doubts over the feasibility of its financing.The plan has been under review since April last year:

The plan for the mentioned IR project has been considered since April 2022, along with plans for Osaka’s IR project, which is a similar project and represents the first integrated casino-resort in Japan. According to the aforementioned plan, the government of the Nagasaki Prefecture intended to open an IR in 2027 that will include luxurious hotels, a global exhibition hall, a casino and commercial facilities on the 31-hectare plot of Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch-themed theme park located at Sasebo, Nagasaki, according to The Asahi Shimbun.

In addition, it was calculated that this project in the aforementioned Huis Ten Bosch would attract 8.4 million guests yearly, collecting 330 billion yen, which is approximately $2.3 billion, in income to the southwestern region of Japan.

Relatedly, Nagasaki Prefecture intended to cover 60% of the original investment of nearly 440 billion yen, which is approximately $3.1 billion, via credits from financial institutions. But, Credit Suisse, a financial giant from Switzerland which was included in the funding of IR, experienced a management crisis and was bought by UBS Group AG, a financial services firm and bank also headquartered in Switzerland.

Furthermore, in order to open a casino in Japan, there are countless requirements, one of which is securing validation from the government. However, there is one more important requirement, which is securing a license.

As for the decision-making process, an expert committee under the leadership of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is responsible for making the decision regarding the aforementioned Government approval. Decision-making is based on the ability of the casino-resort to attract foreign tourists, measures against dependence on gambling and its economic benefits, according to Kyodo News+.

Osaka’s IR – the similar project:

As for the aforementioned Osaka’s IR, the similar project, it will be constructed on Yumeshima, a reclaimed island in Osaka Bay that will host the 2025 World Expo, and will consist of a conference center, hotels, museum, shopping mall and ferry terminal. In addition to that, high-rollers will have entry to an adjacent helicopter pad. The Japanese National Government officially approved it in April of this year.

Relatedly, it is projected to draw nearly 2om guests yearly, and generate 1.14 trillion yen in revenue to the region. Additionally, the overall cost of the entire IR project is calculated at 1.27 trillion yen, and IR is projected to officially open its doors to the public around the autumn of 2030.

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