Hokkaido may fall out of japanese IR competition

After Japan announced the official timeline for prefectures and cities to enter into an integrated Resort (IR) license, it was an avalanche of developments from mayors and operators about their hopes of building the next big thing. The bucking trend is Hokkaido, whose governor has seemingly decided that it is no longer a goal worth while.

Japan Times reports that the governor of Hokkaido Naomichi Suzuki is likely to announce on November 29 that Hokkaido will completely descend the race for one of the three IR licenses. But as of November 28, he had not fully built up his mind. “We have not yet reached a conclusion. We will make a decision after appropriate consideration, “Suzuki told Reporters.

Hokkaido’s companies are pushing the prefecture to embrace the IR race, as a major LONG-term IR development would help their bottom-lines. But the residents disagreed, and a survey that showed mixed feelings on the subject may have swung Suzuki’s decision to end the campaign.

This is not only bad news for those companies, but also for various operators who hoped to build in Hokkaido. Mohegan Sun recently announced their plans to campaign for the IR license, should Hokkaido win one. They would compete with Rush Street, Foxwoods and Caesars Entertainment.

With Hokkaido out of the race, the chances of another prefecture or big city getting the IR have improved. Osaka has been the city to campaign the hardest so far, but they have new competition from the prefectures Wakayama and Nagasaki. Also in the race Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba and Nagoya and Kitakyushu are still competitive.

All those involved still have more than a year to figure out their bids. The central government has announced that the bidding will be opened on January 4, 2021 and runs until July 30, 2021. Until that window opens, every city and prefecture will have to figure out who their operational partner will be, and imagine how their plan will benefit the country best. The jump from Osaka at that beginning, appointing MGM as their application for proposal (RFP) process, making them clear a preferred partner.

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