US casino operator Bally’s Corporation has launched a late bid to develop and operate an integrated resort in Fukuoka, located on the northern tip of Japan’s Kyushu Island.
Details of the ambitious bid were revealed during a press conference at Hotel Okura Fukuoka on Wednesday, with Bally’s hoping it can win a license and open its IR in 2028. This is despite Fukuoka city having not declared itself a candidate location for one of Japan’s first IRs and Kyushu government and business groups already backing an IR bid for Nagasaki, located just 150km to the south.
The Nagasaki bid is also supported by the Kyushu IR Promotion Council, to which all Kyushu prefecture governors and the governor of Yamaguchi – the southern Honshu island prefecture closest to Kyushu – belong.
Instead, Bally’s is leading the charge privately ahead of the 28 April deadline for submission of final bids to the national government.
Bally’s said Wednesday that it has submitted a basic plan and related documents to the mayor of Fukuoka, the chairman of the Kyushu Economic Federation and chairman of the Kyushu IR Promotion Council.
That plan includes a development cost of JPY480 billion (US$3.94 billion) and estimates the IR would attract 4.6 million annual visitors and sales of JPY249.5 billion (US$2.05 billion).
At present, only three locations – Nagasaki, Wakayama and Osaka – have confirmed their intention to bid for one of up to three IR licenses the central government may issue.
Although Bally’s, which operates 14 casinos in the United States, appears to be very late to the party, there are many in the industry who have long believed that Fukuoka is better positioned to host an IR than Nagasaki due to its much larger population base and accessibility.