“Priority Status” for Hokkaido IR Bid Given to Tomakomai City

The options for building an Integrated Resort in Hokkaido are narrowing down, and Tomakomai City has been chosen as one of the most suitable places, receiving a priority status by an advisory panel which was created by the government of Hokkaido prefecture.

According to a report by GGRAsia, this doesn’t mean that Hokkaido will make any confirmations when it comes to the casino bid and Tomakomai City. In fact, they just stated that the city had a “priority status” at the moment as a city to host an IR. The reason for choosing this place was mainly due to proximity to Sapporo, which is a hub for tourists. Furthermore, the city is close to the big international airport which means that it could attract more tourists who land in that area.


The Government of Japan has set a deadline to award licenses for three Integrated Resorts later in 2019. The fact that Hokkaido prefecture has given thumbs up to Tomakomai City is a huge step forward which means that some of the potential IR partners are already being more interested, while others are still keeping the distance.

Partners Already Interested in Tomakomai City

At the beginning of 2019, Hard Rock made a detailed plan which involved Tomakomai City hosting an IR. The plan included airport access via monorail, various hotels, spas, entertainment venues, and more. Furthermore, their plan included a unique design inspired by the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun.

Another popular casino operator that expressed wishes to build an IR in Tomakomai City is Caesars. However, instead of offering solutions to the IR, they emphasized the fact that they will create many new jobs for the locals and stated that they have a long history of collaborating with the government of Tomakomai City.

In the last quarter of 2018, Rush Street also made an announcement where they stated that they also planned to build in Tomakomai City. In fact, they proposed a plan which would turn Hokkaido prefecture into a great destination for tourists from all over the world.

Mohegan Sun, Melco Resorts, and SJM were also present during the Hokkaido IR Showcase that took place a couple of weeks ago, which means that they are also seen as potential investors in this project.

On the other hand, Tomakomai being a “prority” was not welcomed by Kamori Kanko. At the beginning of 2019, the operator expressed their intentions to build an Integrated Resort at Rusutsu Village which would be focused mainly on winter sports. In other words, they can shut down their plans, should Tomakomai becomes a city selected for the IR.

To sum up, the competition for receiving a license to build an IR is still very strong and there will be a lot of pressure on everyone before the selection process is concluded. Apart from Hokkaido, other two prefectures that are in the game are Yokohama and Tokyo.

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