Prospects for a revival of Hokkaido IR bid grow dimmer

Prospects that Hokkaido Prefecture will rejoin the IR race in the near future appear to have suffered a major blow after it was reported that the prefectural government has decided not to seek any budget for IR development for the coming fiscal year.

The prefectural had been considering including IR development matters within its budget requests to the Assembly, but decided not to do so largely as a consequence of the 500 Dot Com bribery scandal, which has led to criminal charges being filed against a prominent local businessman, Kamori Kanko Chairman Kimihito Kamori, and even greater opposition within public opinion.

The decision not to seek a budget will, however, come as a significant disappointment to the municipal government of Tomakomai, as well as the three IR operators (Hard Rock, Rush Street, and Mohegan) keen for development in Japan’s northernmost prefecture.

Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki announced last November that his government would not be joining the IR race at this time, but pro-IR elements have maintained their lobbying efforts as well as their hopes that Suzuki would reverse his decision.

Suzuki has not ruled out a Hokkaido IR bid seven years later, in the anticipated second round of Japanese IR development.

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