Nagasaki Casino Bidding Process Flawed at Best, Rigged at Worst, Allegations Argue

By | August 19, 2021

The Nagasaki casino request for proposal (RFP) process was severely influenced by prefecture and local city officials, a new report claims.

Nagasaki casino integrated resort Casinos Austria
Casino Baden, one of Casino Austria’s more glamourous properties, rests under the night sky. Casinos Austria has been chosen in Nagasaki to build a casino resort. (Image: Casinos Austria)

Oshidori International Development panned the prefecture as the company withdrew its RFP for Nagasaki’s integrated resort (IR) earlier this month. Oshidori Development, a subsidiary of Japanese financial services firm Oshidori International Holdings, scolded the resort submission review, proclaiming that it has no interest in participating unless such a process is conducted “in an ethical manner.”

Inside Asian Gaming reports today that Nagasaki officials perhaps had long chosen Casinos Austria, the gaming firm that was selected by the prefecture for its IR ambitions on August 10.

IAG has been told by multiple sources familiar with the situation that Casinos Austria has long been Nagasaki’s preferred option, and that the prefecture engaged in numerous machinations behind the scenes to ultimately see Casinos Austria as the only candidate presented to the judges, in a kind of contrived ‘one horse race,’” the media outlet focused on Asian gaming matters explained.

IAG relays that Oshidori and NIKI Group, the latter being a small Japanese hospitality consortium, were both allegedly pressured to withdrawal their IR bids. Oshidori was additionally encouraged to suspend public marketing campaigns, something that the central government’s casino bill did not mandate.

Casinos Austria Plan Hidden

Nagasaki is one of four cities in Japan prepping bids to win one of the central government’s three forthcoming IR licenses, the others being Osaka, Yokohama, and Wakayama.

During its announcement of deeming Casinos Austria its preferred development partner, Nagasaki’s Evaluation Committee scored the firm’s pitch 697 points. Oshidori and partner Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) scored 682.8 points, and NIKI third at 667.1 points.

Oshidori-MGE released their Nagasaki IR plans to the public, renderings that, at least as of now, will not come to realization. But Casinos Austria is refusing to unveil their IR plans until its prefecture agreement is officially executed.

What is known is that — like Oshidori-MGE — Casinos Austria’s IR blueprint targets land adjacent to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo City.

Why Casinos Austria?

With no explanation from Nagasaki other than vague scores, IAG and other industry observers are baffled as to why Nagasaki went with Casinos Austria over Oshidori and Mohegan.

Casinos Austria owns and operates 25 casinos in nine countries, 12 of which are in its home nation. The company predominantly operates boutique gaming venues. In fact, the company’s website says it operates a total of 3,600 gaming machines and 230 table games across its entire portfolio.

By comparison, MGE’s flagship property in Connecticut — Mohegan Sun — has 300 table games and nearly 5,000 slot machines at that integrated resort alone. MGE additionally owns or operates casinos in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, Nevada, and Canada. All of the properties have hotels, conference space, numerous restaurants, and retail shopping.

The group is also investing billions of dollars on IR developments in South Korea and Greece.

However, it’s important to note that there has been no concrete evidence suggesting that Nagasaki’s RFP was indeed flawed. Nonetheless, IAG concluded, “Speculation as to why Casinos Austria might be the preferred partner of Nagasaki Prefecture is rife.”

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