High drama as Oshidori pulls out of Nagasaki casino race

By Noah Taylor Updated
Public consultation on Nagasaki casino pushed back

Oshidori International Development has bowed out of the Nagasaki casino race bidding process just two days after giving a final presentation.

Inside Asian Gaming reports that Oshidori International Development has bowed out of the bidding process just two days after giving a final presentation to operate an integrated resort in Sasebo City.

Announcing its withdrawal, Oshidori said: “Unless there are certain changes to the developmental and operational rules imposed by the Nagasaki Prefecture and unless the request-for-proposal process is conducted in an ethical manner, Oshidori is withdrawing from participating for an integrated resort in Nagasaki.”

Oshidori, which had been leading a consortium alongside US tribal gaming operator Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, cited the political environment in Nagasaki, stating: “The restrictive and unreasonable rules imposed by the Nagasaki Prefecture make it impossible for Oshidori to conduct business in a prudent and efficient manner.”

In an even more concerning development for Nagasaki and Japan’s broader integrated resort plan, the company hinted at a tainted process.

“Oshidori has encountered several incidents that make it question whether there have been serious ethical irregularities in the process and it is only interested in participating in a process that has the highest integrity and that is professional, transparent and based on merit,” it said.

Oshidori thanked the people of Nagasaki, saying the company “expresses its gratitude to the local community and to all the people involved for their support and cooperation towards Oshidori’s participation in Nagasaki’s integrated resort process.”

Oshidori is known to be a cash-rich company which had made a major financial commitment to its integrated resort bid in Nagasaki.

They had also hired several high-profile executives who have worked at the highest levels of the integrated resort industry in Las Vegas for decades.

In a recent objective assessment of the three candidates in Nagasaki, it was concluded that Oshidori presented the best opportunity for development of a successful integrated resort in the prefecture.

Casinos Austria and NIKI Chyau Group are the remaining candidates in Nagasaki.

Independent sources said there are “behind the scenes machinations” at the highest levels of the Nagasaki government, “specifically designed to aid one of Oshidori’s competitors.”

Big names pulls out of Japan integrated resort race

Oshidori is just the latest high-profile withdrawal from the Japan integrated resort race following the departure of Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and Suncity.

A host of other candidates, while not officially withdrawing, have gone totally silent in Japan, including Galaxy Entertainment Group, SJM, Bloomberry and Hard Rock.

Government officials in Japan promoting the integrated resort industry are said to be worried.

After more than 20 companies from around the world initially expressed interest in the opportunity, only six remain in four candidate locations and only three of those six have any integrated resort experience in Asia.

Nagasaki had the highest number of remaining bidders at three and did have seven at the start of 2020.

Wakayama found itself with only Canada’s Clairvest as a partner after Suncity Holdings withdrew its application.

Osaka, once the leading candidate city, only had a consortium between MGM and Orix to choose from after other potential bids left in favour of Yokohama.

Now all eyes will be on Yokohama’s August 22 mayoral elections.

There is a strong anti-casino movement in the city and one of the anti integrated resort candidates has the backing of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

If Yokohama drops out, both Genting Group and Melco Resorts and Entertainment will be left in the cold.

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