The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in Japan has rejected a plan to open a Las Vegas-style casino-centered integrated resort (IR) in Nagasaki Prefecture, citing concerns over its funding. The plan for the IR project has been under consideration since April 2022, along with plans for a similar project in Osaka.
The Nagasaki Prefecture’s plan aimed to open the IR in 2027 at Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch-themed theme park in Sasebo, Nagasaki. The resort was expected to include luxurious hotels, a global exhibition hall, a casino, and commercial facilities on a 31-hectare plot. It was projected to attract 8.4 million guests annually and generate approximately $2.3 billion in income for the region.
To finance the project, Nagasaki Prefecture intended to cover 60% of the original investment of nearly $3.1 billion via credits from financial institutions. However, the funding from Credit Suisse, a Swiss financial giant, was affected by a management crisis, as it was acquired by UBS Group AG.
In Japan, opening a casino requires approval from the government and securing a license. The decision-making process is led by an expert committee under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, which evaluates the potential of the casino-resort to attract foreign tourists, measures against dependence on gambling, and its economic benefits.
As for Osaka’s IR project, it was officially approved by the Japanese National Government in April of this year. The project, set to open in the autumn of 2030, will be constructed on Yumeshima, a reclaimed island in Osaka Bay, and is expected to draw nearly 20 million guests yearly, generating approximately $10.3 billion in revenue for the region. The overall cost of the IR project is estimated at $11.2 billion.
The Ministry’s decision to turn down the Nagasaki IR plan reflects the challenges and uncertainties surrounding the financing of such ambitious projects in Japan. Despite the rejection, the development of IRs in the country continues, with the focus now shifting to the Osaka project and its potential impact on the region’s economy and tourism.