GGRAsia – Eyes of Bally Fukuoka, Hope for New Round of IR Offerings

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Eyes of Bally Fukuoka, hope for a new round of IR offers


US casino operator Bally’s Corp announced plans on Wednesday to develop an integrated resort (IR) in the Japanese city of Fukuoka (pictured), on the northern shore of the island of Kyushu. It was good that neither the city nor the prefecture had made a statement about the intention to host a casino.

Fukuoka is Japan’s sixth largest city and Kyushu is the country’s third largest island. It has around 13 million inhabitants and is said to represent around 10% of the country’s economic output. Earlier this month, the mayor of Fukuoka City reportedly said he was not interested in welcoming an IR to the metropolis.

Christopher Jewett, vice president of corporate development, said at Wednesday’s press conference that Fukuoka “has tremendous potential as a host community for an integrated resort.”

“The project can elevate the stature of this historic region into a truly international destination in keeping with its long and rich heritage,” Mr. Jewett added.

Bally executives said the group plans to develop a 480 billion yen ($3.9 billion) project, with Uminonakamichi Seaside Park as its preferred site. According to the presentation documents presented during the briefing, the complex would consist of 2,000 hotel rooms and a casino of 15,000 square meters (161,459 square feet).

Bally’s said it targets about 4.6 million customers a year, mostly domestic customers, expecting an annual gross profit of 71 billion yen.

April 28 is the deadline for local governments to submit proposals to the national government for the right to host a casino. Up to three will be allowed at the national level, under the existing liberalization programme. Currently, Nagasaki, Wakayama and Osaka are likely to submit a respective application for a casino.

The city and prefecture of Fukuoka have not declared their intention to host one of the first casinos in Japan. Kyushu business groups and other local governments are already backing an IR bid for Nagasaki, south of Fukuoka city.

At the briefing, Bally’s Mr Jewett said the gaming operator was aware that the existing national process for selecting candidates for the integrated station will end at the end of April. “It is possible that after the national government assesses the first round of proposals, it may choose to reopen the bidding process,” the executive said.

“If that happens, Fukuoka has the potential to position itself as a strong candidate for selection,” he added. “It is clear however that no proposal is possible without the strong support of the many voters in the community.”



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