Casinos Austria Reveals Nagasaki IR Plan, Prefecture Defends Bidding Process

Posted on: August 23, 2021, 02:12h. 

Last updated on: August 23, 2021, 12:27h.

Casinos Austria International has unveiled early plans for its integrated resort (IR) casino project. The complex will be adjacent to Nagasaki’s Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Sasebo City.

Casinos Austria Japan casino IR Nagasaki
Casinos Austria CEO Bettina Glatz-Kremsner, seen above, will lead the organization forward as it tries to move into Japan by way of Nagasaki. The Japanese prefecture has dismissed allegations that it long favored partnering with Casinos Austria for its integrated resort hopes. (Image: Casinos Austria)

The casino operator says it’s partnering with global hotelier Hyatt Hotels to build a sprawling entertainment, leisure, and business resort complex located in Sasebo, north of the prefecture’s namesake capital city. Casinos Austria says its IR consortium in Japan will include Hyatt, as well as local Japanese-based partners.

Casinos Austria’s Japan IR plan features a casino floor measuring 9,000 square meters (96,875 square feet) equipped with 2,200 slot machines and 220 table games. The resort will offer guests eight hotels to choose from, with most of the brands being Hyatt-owned properties.

Hyatt’s portfolio includes Grandy Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Alila, and Andaz.

The IR is additionally to include conference and exhibition space, an array of restaurant offerings, a spa, a concert venue, and retail shopping. Casinos Austria did not disclose what sort of investment is planned for the project.

Founded in 1977, Casinos Austria operates 25 casinos in nine countries. Twelve of the company’s properties are in its home country.

Nagasaki Comments on Allegations

Nagasaki narrowed down its IR bidding pool to submissions from Casinos Austria, Oshidori International Holdings/Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, and the NIKKI Group. Oshidori renounced its candidacy in early August but didn’t do so quietly.

Instead, Oshidori launched allegations against Nagasaki, claiming that fairness and transparency were not part of the prefecture’s IR application process. The Japanese financial services firm said the request for proposal (RFP) development was “restrictive and unreasonable,” and that the group “encountered several incidents that make it question whether there have been serious ethical irregularities in the RFP process.”

Nagasaki officials rejected those allegations in a statement over the weekend.

“Casinos Austria International was chosen as the priority rights holder after an overall evaluation of five different evaluation sections,” a statement from the prefecture’s Integrated Resort Promotion Division read. “The background checks have been applied equally to all of the applicants.”

Prefecture Partner

The Casinos Austria casino resort presentation was graded 697 points by the Nagasaki IR Evaluation Committee. The Oshidori/Mohegan consortium received 682.8 points and NIKI 667.1 points.

By winning the first step, Casinos Austria will now work directly with the Nagasaki government to finalize the IR blueprint. Once the design elements and construction plan are ready, the casino operator and prefecture will bid to Japan’s central government.

Japan’s newly formed Casino Administration Committee will be tasked with determining which prefectures and cities are awarded an IR license. The outcome might come with little suspense.

As of now, only four of Japan’s 47 prefectures are actively in the IR race: Osaka, Nagasaki, Wakayama, and Kanagawa (Yokohama). But Sunday’s mayoral election in Yokohama will likely result in the country’s second-most populated city withdrawing.

Incoming mayor Dr. Takeharu Yamanaka has stated that once in office, he will terminate the city’s IR ambitions. Kanagawa has not revealed whether it will consider a casino in another city, should Yokohama formally exit.