Japanese Prefectures Begin to Doubt Financial Capabilities of Casino Partners

By | December 3, 2021

Nagasaki, Japan is calling out Casinos Australia. At a public meeting today, an attendee questioned the tentative cost of the integrated resort (IR) backed by that company.

Nagasaki View
An aerial view of Nagasaki, Japan. The area could host an IR if approved by the Japanese government. (Image: Lonely Planet)

Members of Nagasaki’s government met today to discuss the state of the IR planned for the prefecture. The meetings are open to the public.

During the meeting, an unidentified individual questioned whether all angles of the massive project have been properly explored, according to reports from GGRAsia, The plan as it stands now is to see a casino resort come to life at a cost of about US$3.09 billion. However, the individual hinted that a larger investment may be needed.

It was the second meeting in a series to be held to iron out the future of the project. Casinos Austria was chosen this past August to be the local casino developer. But today’s meeting raised doubts about the IR’s financing.

Nagasaki Welcomes IR Feedback

Questions over the budget have come up before. About two months ago, Nagasaki asked Casinos Austria to provide more details about how it planned on coming up with the funds it promised to supply for the IR.

The company is reportedly putting together a profile to submit to the government. Nagasaki is also prepared to try and reinvigorate support. It said that it is close to delivering its IR-related District Development Plan. However, that plan won’t include the requested financials.

No new figure was specified, but the comments seemingly aren’t without merit. Routinely, large construction projects meet cost overruns for various reasons. In the case of Japanese IRs, there isn’t a baseline in the country upon which to build estimates.

It’s also possible that the question was simply raised by someone holding a grudge that one of the other candidates wasn’t selected to be the casino partner.

Nagasaki began holding its IR assemblies on Nov. 26, and will conduct them through Dec. 21. The goal is to ease concerns about the project, while also eliciting feedback from community leaders.

After the assembly circuit wraps up, a public feedback period will be held. Then, provided everything is still in place, the prefecture will be ready to present its final project plans to the Japanese Diet by next April.

Wakayama Sees Similar Questions

Wakayama is also shortlisted to possibly host an IR in Japan. However, it has seen more resistance to the idea from the local community. Still, it is pushing forward with its plans with Clairvest Neem Ventures to create a project that might win over the opponents. That is increasingly more problematic, as lobby groups are turning up the anti-IR heat.

IR opponents in Wakayama have posed the same questions there that are appearing in Nagasaki. They want to know how Clairvest is going to fund the project. If the company cannot produce solid projections, support for the IR could wane even further.

Japan’s IR dreams are already well behind schedule. But the country has said that there won’t be any more delays. It wants to move forward as quickly as possible at this point. With April approaching quickly, IR proponents still have a lot of work to do to ensure they maintain enough public support. If the Japanese Diet sees that a certain host location is losing favor with the community, its project could be rejected.

The final decision on who will host an IR, of which there could initially be up to three, is expected to be revealed before the end of next summer.

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