Hokkaido to study feasibility of IR with casino

Osaka and Nagasaki submitted IR District Development Plans in April 2022.
Osaka and Nagasaki submitted IR District Development Plans in April 2022.

Members of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) have launched a working group.

Japan.- Members of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in the Hokkaido prefectural assembly are to create a working group to study the feasibility of Hokkaido applying to host an integrated resort (IR) with a casino. The Hokkaido Shimbun says the assembly has scheduled a meeting for December 15, at which IR experts from an accounting agency will contribute insights.

Koichi Hagiuda, identified as the chairperson of the LDP policy research council, supports the idea of Hokkaido pursuing an IR. This sentiment was echoed by LDP representatives for Hokkaido in Japan’s parliament.

In October, Kenji Koganezawa, the head of the Hokkaido Tourism Organization (HTO) said the island was considering plans for an IR in a bid to bolster tourism and the local economy. Hokkaido decided against bidding to host a casino and IR in 2019, citing environmental concerns. However, Tomakomai City has expressed interest in an IR as part of its regeneration strategy. A public policy plan published in December 2022 promoted a casino-resort policy for 2023-2027.

The only approved casino resort scheme for Japan so far is in Osaka. In September, the Osaka Prefectural Government signed an agreement with a consortium that includes MGM Resorts International and Orix to develop the IR. Nagasaki has bid to host a resort but its proposal has yet to be approved by central government.

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