Hokkaido’s IR bid has quietly begun. According to The Nikkei, Hokkaido announced the prefecture’s “Basic Concepts” regarding integrated resorts, including casinos, on 17 April.
Included in these concepts were four major issues if an IR bid is won by the preferred candidate location of Tomakomai City, including the government’s requirement under the IR Development and Promotion Ordinance to include massive facilities. Hokkaido is continuing talks with Tomakomai City and private IR operators to explore feasibility.
As per the report, “It is important to continue with efforts for the bid.” However, it does not make a decision on whether to go ahead with attracting an IR. That decision lies with the next governor, Naomichi Suzuki.
The enforcement ordinance drafted by the cabinet requires that guest accommodation, which is a mandatory inclusion in any IR, be 100,000 square meters or more, on par with very large overseas hotels.
If Tomakomai city is to attract IR, it will be necessary to meet the size requirements of such a facility. The other issues included impact on the natural environment, infrastructure such as water and sewerage, and problem gambling measures.
It is a little circuitous, but Governor-elect Naomichi Suzuki, who has been tasked with making the final decision, has stated that he will “not condone pointless procrastination” regarding the question of an IR.