Nagasaki Prefecture signed a basic agreement with Casinos Austria International Japan (CAIJ) on 30 August for the development of an integrated resort at Huis Ten Bosch at Sasebo City, Nagasaki. But the process has been controversial to say the least, with both of CAIJ’s rival bidders crying foul on the decision.
In this five-part special report running Monday to Friday this week, we take a closer look at Casinos Austria and speculate on what might happen from here on the road to creating Nagasaki’s first ever integrated resort.
Mon 13 Sep 2021 Part 1: Introduction and background
Tue 14 Sep 2021 Part 2: IR operational capabilities
Wed 15 Sep 2021 Part 3: Financial capacity
Thu 16 Sep 2021 Part 4: Meeting Japan’s expectations
Fri 17 Sep 2021 Part 5: Conclusions and challenges
PART 1: INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
What a difference three years makes. In 2018 Japan was the “must have” destination for the world’s largest IR companies, with over 20 companies eagerly competing for one of up to three integrated resorts in Asia’s second largest (and the world’s third largest) economy. A dozen locations across the length and breadth of the country were being touted as possible IR destination cities. Fast forward to today and we have just three: Osaka with its sole bidder MGM, Wakayama which also finished its partner operator selection process with just one bidder – Clairvest, and Nagasaki.
At least Nagasaki had a competitive process in the end, with five bidders eventually whittled down to three – Casinos Austria International Japan, Oshidori International Development, and NIKI Chyau Fwu (Parkview) Group. When Nagasaki announced Casinos Austria as its preferred candidate on 10 August, the company’s two rivals did not go quietly, with allegations of “corruption” from Oshidori and a “very troubling” process from NIKI. Both claim they were asked by Nagasaki prefecture to withdraw days before their final presentation and Oshidori has even lodged two formal “Written Disclosure Requests for Official Documents” pursuant to Nagasaki Prefecture’s Information Disclosure Ordinance.
Much has been written of the complaints of Oshidori and NIKI, so for the rest of this week let’s focus on Casinos Austria, its track record, and what might happen now for an IR in Nagasaki.
On announcing the signing of the basic agreement, Nagasaki stated that they will jointly prepare an “area development plan” with CAIJ, and then apply for approval of the IR project to Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism by the national deadline of 28 April 2022.
Tomorrow in part 2 we examine the IR operational capabilities of Casinos Austria and consider what type of resort they are likely to create.