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The moment Japan made the announcement about the official timeline for cities and regions that wish to apply for an IR (Integrated Resort) license, there’s been a lot of development around such places. Several operators and mayors have high hopes that they’ll build something that would stand out.

Hokkaido is one city that has surprised everyone as they don’t seem to be following the trend. The governor believes pursuing this goal is not worth it and would not be making any moves as regards such.

According to reports from Calvin Ayre, Naomichi Suzuki, the governor of Hokkaido, made an announcement on the 29th of November. He disclosed that Hokkaido will no longer try to get any of the 3 IR licenses available. The governor was believed to have been unsure about this decision as at the 28th of November. He told reporters that

“We haven’t reached a conclusion yet. We’ll make a decision after due consideration,”

Businesses in Hokkaido have been trying to push for the region to actively join the race to get an IR license. They believe getting the license will lead to more development and would further earn them more income in the long run.

However, the residents in the region do not agree with this notion. A survey was carried out in the region to know the opinions of the residents, and it showed that they had mixed feelings about the project. This may be one of the reasons Suzuki decided to end their pursuit of the license.

This news came as a hit to several businesses that hoped to profit from getting the license. Several operators also had high hopes of building in Hokkaido. Just recently, Mohegan sun disclosed plans that they would begin a rigorous campaign for their IR license, in a situation where Hokkaido wins theirs. They would have been in competition with Foxwoods, Caesar Entertainment and Rush Street.

Now that Hokkaido is out of the race, other regions or major city now have a better chance of getting the IR. So far, Osaka has been the only city to have been campaigning the hardest to get the license. Other big cities like Nagasaki and Wakayama have also been giving them a run for their money. Other cities in competition for the license are Yokohama, Tokyo, Nagoya, Chiba and Kitakyushu.

For all the cities involved, they still have more than 12 months to get their bids in order. According to the central government, they announced that the bidding process will start on the 4th of January, 2020. The bid process will be open until the 30th of July, 2020.

Since the bidding window is not open yet, what each city is currently battling with is how to get an operating partner. They would have to bring this operating partner on board with a mouth watering proposal and they will have to convince them that their proposal will benefit them in the long run.

Osaka seems to be the first to have nailed this as they recently announced that MGM will be their preferred partner in this journey.

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