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Chiba is the next region in Japan to abandon the integrated resort race after Hokkaido. Chiba city Mayor Toshihito Kumagai announced on Tuesday, confirming that his city will not partake in the integrated resort plans.

The announcement comes a few days after the Japanese national government created an independent body tasked with regulating the future casino market. Japan has also been plagued with corruption recently, whereby six politicians have been alleged to have received bribes from a Chinese based 500.com. However, Kumagai affirmed that his region’s departure from the integrated resort race had nothing to do with the scandal.

In a media conference on Tuesday, Kumagai said that his city has other important issues to consider at this point.

He said, “Campaigning to host an IR would take a lot of energy at a time when we need to place our top priority on post-disaster reconstruction and restoration.”

Chiba prefecture is located in the Kanto region on Japan’s largest island of Honshu. The island is also home to the greater Tokyo, the largest Japanese metropolitan.

Tepid Interest

Chiba engaged interested integrated resort operators by holding a request for an information meeting in August last year. However, only eight operators submitted proposals by the end of the stipulated time.

According to Casino.org, the names of the eight operators weren’t publicized, but two of them are Chiba based companies. Large operators such as La Vegas Sands, Melco Resorts, or Wynn Resorts are unlikely to show interest in small metropolitans such as Chiba. MGM International, Galaxy Entertainment Group, and Genting Singapore are all interested in bringing a gaming resort in Osaka. The three Japanese cities that are Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka seem favorite to be rewarded the first three licenses to operate an integrated resort.

Hokkaido Likely To Re-enter

Hokkaido was the first prefecture to depart from the integrated resort race citing environmental concerns. However, there’re speculations that the city could reenter the integrated resort quest in the future when Japan government decides to go beyond the three gaming properties. Chiba mayor didn’t hint whether the municipality could reconsider reentering the integrated resort race or not.

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