The Japanese Government Rejects Nagasaki Casino Resort Proposal Due to Funding Worries

The Nagasaki Prefecture’s plan to develop an integrated resort (IR) with a casino has hit a roadblock as the central government has decided not to approve the project. The decision was made due to doubts about the feasibility of securing the massive funds required for the development.

This setback means that for the time being, Osaka Prefecture remains the only place in the nation where such a resort plan will be carried out. The Nagasaki prefectural government had proposed the IR to be built at Huis Ten Bosch, a resort in Sasebo, with the goal of opening in 2027.

Last year, the prefecture submitted a development plan to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Ministry, outlining an initial investment of ¥438.3 billion, with 60% of the funding to come from loans from financial institutions. However, concerns arose after Credit Suisse, a Swiss financial giant involved in the project fundraising, collapsed.

The ministry’s screening committee, comprised of experts in tourism and economics, highlighted significant changes in the lineup of investors involved in the project since the application stage. They also noted that documents guaranteeing the investments or financing were not adequately prepared. As a result, the committee advised the land, infrastructure, transport, and tourism minister not to approve the plan due to doubts over the funding.

Additionally, the committee raised concerns about the lack of sufficient records of operating IRs for the investors in the project, and pointed out that measures against gambling addiction and illegal activities, common concerns over casinos, were inadequate.

The decision not to approve the IR project in Nagasaki Prefecture comes as a significant blow to the local government’s plans for economic and tourism development. The IR was seen as a potential attraction for international tourists and a boost to the local economy, but the doubts raised by the central government have cast a shadow over the project’s future.

Local officials in Nagasaki have expressed disappointment over the decision, stating that they will continue to seek opportunities for economic revitalization in the region. The setback with the IR project highlights the challenges and uncertainties surrounding large-scale development projects, especially those involving significant financial investment and complex funding arrangements.

As the debate over integrated resorts and casinos continues in Japan, the decision regarding the Nagasaki project serves as a reminder of the careful consideration and thorough planning required for such ventures. Despite the setback, the local government remains committed to finding alternative paths for economic growth and tourism development in the prefecture.

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