Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido is considering forgoing making a bid to host newly legalized casino resorts partly due to environmental concerns.
Naomichi Suzuki, the Governor of Hokkaido, formally declared that Hokkaido would pass on bidding for an integrated casino resort. Gov. Suzuki told that they have not make a conclusion on whether the province will bid to host one of three casino resorts and that a decision will be made “after due consideration.” It also produced that the decision is likely to be announced. Hokkaido may not pursue approval to host one of Japan’s first casinos due to environmental concerns. Suzuki has said a decision on whether to set up a casino at a candidate site in Tomakomai would be made by the end of the year after some residents voiced concerns about the environmental impact of building a so-called integrated resort housing a large hotel and conference rooms. While major Hokkaido business lobbies have revealed support for the casino bid to promote the economy, a recent survey of residents by the Hokkaido government showed that two-thirds of respondents have worries about having a casino resort.
Naomichi Suzuki presented his decision on the integrated resort or “IR” topic – as large-scale casino complexes are known in Japan during a plenary session of the Hokkaido prefectural assembly on Friday morning. Suzuki as telling assembly members: “An integrated resort in Hokkaido which would coexist with nature has big potential, but I thought it would be impossible for us to give due consideration to the environment in the limited period of time before the government selects the locations.”
But Mr. Suzuki recommended that Hokkaido the northernmost of Japan’s main islands might seek to bid to the national government to host such a scheme in any future rounds of market development.
The central government plans to pick three locations or so to open casino resorts after accepting formal applications between January and July 2021 from local and prefectural governments together with resort operators selected through open recruitment.
The Hokkaido government had disclosed the results of a survey that indicated 66 percent of approximately 700 local respondents said they were concerned about the possibility of a casino project, pointing to issues such as “gambling addiction” and prospects of the project’s success.
The Wakayama Prefecture, the Nagasaki Prefecture, the Osaka Prefecture together with the city of Osaka, and most recently Yokohama have expressed interest to host an integrated resort with a casino. The city assembly of Tomakomai passed a resolution last month backing the casino plan, hoping to create new jobs and prop up the local economy.
It usually takes about three years to conduct an environmental impact assessment, raising questions about whether the Hokkaido government can complete it in time for application.