Last month, officials in the city of Hokkaido announced that they were abandoning the Japanese race for the first three integrated resort licenses. That announcement was bad news to the operators who had chosen the region. Connecticut’ Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment said it would reconsider whether to choose another city after Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki said the city wouldn’t compete for an integrated resort due to environmental concerns.
In October, MGE opened an office in Tomakomai city in Hokkaido, a sign of commitment to the region. Other operators who were opting for Hokkaido included Hard Rock International and Rush Street. The two are yet to announce their decision following the announcement of withdrawal by Governor Suzuki.
Hokkaido had scheduled integrated resort convection this week, but that isn’t expected to happen. The operators who were expected to participate in that convention include Melco Resorts, Rush Street, and Hard Rock. According to casino.org, MGE respects Suzuki’s decision to withdraw from the Japanese integrated resort.
The Japanese policymakers are expected to start receiving proposals from the cities beginning in 2021. However, deciding the city to be awarded the license could go up to the mid-2021. By that time, Hokkaido could make relevant repatriation to ensure the environmental concerns are taken into consideration.
Meanwhile, operators that were considering Hokkaido can still venture into other Japanese regions. However, they will need to dig deep into their pockets since, in other regions, they will face high construction costs, which could go up to $15 billion. In Hokkaido, MGE estimated that an integrated casino could cost $3.5 to $4.5 billion.