Mohegan Gaming Japan Partner Withdrawals Nagasaki Candidacy, Scolds IR Process

Posted on: August 6, 2021, 11:06h. 

Last updated on: August 6, 2021, 12:26h.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE) no longer has a bidding partner in Japan for one of the country’s casino licenses. That’s following Oshidori International Development’s shocking exit.

Mohegan Gaming Nagasaki Japan Oshidori
Huis Ten Bosch, the largest theme park in Japan, is pictured. The Nagasaki government wants to allow a casino resort to be built close to the famed Dutch-themed entertainment destination. But this week Mohegan Gaming’s development partner Oshidori folded on the project. (Image: Getty)

MGE, the gaming unit of the Mohegan Tribe in Connecticut, which owns and operates Mohegan Sun, partnered in January with Oshidori for its Japan plans. The consortium targeted Nagasaki for its integrated resort (IR) ambitions. Nagasaki is one of four cities trying to win one of the three forthcoming casino licenses Japan is authorizing.

Mohegan and Oshidori had presented Nagasaki with a $4.3 billion IR plan. But today, in a scathing release, Oshidori says Nagasaki officials can remove its name from the bidding pool.

“Unless there are certain changes to the developmental and operational rules imposed by the Nagasaki Prefecture, and unless the RFP (request for proposal) process is conducted in an ethical manner, it is withdrawing from participating in the RFP for an IR in Nagasaki,” the Oshidori statement read.

The staunch criticism didn’t end there.

The restrictive and unreasonable rules imposed by the Nagasaki Prefecture make it impossible for Oshidori to conduct business in a prudent and efficient manner. In addition, Oshidori has encountered several incidents that make it question whether there have been serious ethical irregularities in the RFP process, and it is only interested in participating in a process that has the highest integrity, and that is professional, transparent, and based on merit,” the company concluded.

Oshidori International Development’s parent company, Oshidori International Holdings, is a publicly traded corporation that is engaged in a variety of financial services.  

Vague Attack, Future Unknown

The Oshidori statement didn’t divulge specifics of the allegations it cited against the prefecture’s namesake capital. The release also failed to explain whether those sentiments are shared by Mohegan Gaming. 

In addition to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, MGE owns and/or operates casinos in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, Nevada, and Canada. MGE is additionally constructing two IR developments in South Korea and Greece.

Mohegan was excited to partner with Oshidori for a potential entry into Japan. It said in January that MGE is “honored” to work with Oshidori, then-Mohegan Gaming CEO Mario Kontomerkos stating that Japan “offers important development opportunities.” Kontomerkos resigned from Mohegan in March. 

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment did not respond to a inquiry regarding whether it would seek a new IR development partner in Nagasaki. 

Japan Loses Luster

Once seen as the greatest gaming market opportunity since China’s Macau opened up its commercial casino industry to new operators some two decades ago, Japan’s attractiveness has greatly diminished. 

Japan’s lengthy process of legalizing commercial casino gambling, and then COVID-19, has resulted in key players withdrawing from consideration. Las Vegas Sands and Caesars Entertainment are out, MGM Resorts wants a reduced investment role in its Osaka consortium, and Wynn Resorts’ interest continues to wane. 

Nagasaki, Osaka, Yokohama, and Wakayama are the four cities bidding for an IR. 

With Oshidori out, and likely Mohegan, too, Nagasaki is left with two qualifying casino bids. They come from entities led by Casinos Austria and THE NIKI. 

Casinos Austria operates 12 casinos in Austria. THE NIKI is a rather unknown firm that ran a nature park called NIKI Resort in Tochigi for more than three decades before its closing in 2017.