In Japan and a pair of Hokkaido Prefecture business groups have reportedly expressed regret at Governor Naomichi Suzuki’s recent move to pull the jurisdiction out of the race to host one of the nation’s coming trio of integrated casino resorts.

According to a Tuesday report from Inside Asian Gaming, Japan’s northernmost prefecture had earlier floated a plan that was to see it push for permission to build a $10 billion integrated casino resort on the outskirts of the community of Tomakomai. But Suzuki purportedly axed this scheme late last month following revelations that it could take up to three years for the suggested development site to finish a required environmental impact assessment, which raised concerns as to whether a final bid could be lodged with federal selectors before the expiration of a mid-2021 deadline.

Persisting push:

Inside Asian Gaming reported that the Tomakomai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has now issued a statement to express ‘great disappointment’ at the Governor’s decision and reveal that it will continue to lobby for the right to bring an integrated casino resort to Japan’s second largest main island.

Tomakomai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s statement reportedly read…

“Discussions about an integrated casino resort have been neglected at the final stage and have been used only as a political tool at Hokkaido Assembly level. This outcome is very disappointing but we have not given up on an integrated casino resort and we want to continue with the project.”

Distressing decision:

Similarly, the Chairman for the Hokkaido Economic Federation, Akihiko Mayumi, has reportedly offered comparable sentiments after submitting a formal request for Hokkaido Prefecture to continue pursuing a bid for one of the three gambling-friendly venues.

Mayumi told Inside Asian Gaming…

This is a terrible shame. For Hokkaido, an integrated casino resort was considered to be a project that would lead to an explosion for the food and tourism industries. Eight organizations including my own have made requests to the Governor and we had made progress by establishing ventures such as the Thinking About Hokkaido IR Group. When I consider the economic ripple effects we expected from the Hokkaido economy being lost, I feel a lot of pain.”

Official opposition:

The mayor for Tomakomai, Hirofumi Iwakura, has additionally added his name to the list of those disappointed at Suzuki’s surprise decision while Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga (pictured) is said to have described Hokkaido as possessing an ‘abundant nature and food culture’ that would give it ‘great potential for inbound visitors.’

Numerous nominees:

American casino operators Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, Rush Street Gaming and Hard Rock International were only some of those known to be interested in running the envisioned Hokkaido integrated casino resort while this latter firm reportedly told the news domain at that it views Suzuki’s most recent move as ‘a bit of a waste’.

Operator obstinance:

Ado Machida, President for Hard Rock International’s local Hard Rock Japan subordinate, reportedly told that his enterprise remains committed to bringing an integrated casino resort to Hokkaido Prefecture in hopes of being able to assist in spurring the wider region’s economic recovery.

Machida reportedly told

“We have only been focused on Hokkaido. We have established an office in Tomakomai and have been promoting a bid. The company was planning to invest $5 billion and expected to employ 15,000 to 21,000 people. I really don’t understand and I feel it’s a bit of a waste. An integrated casino resort was expected to help drastically mitigate the problems of population decline, the declining birthrate, an aging population and the tax decline that comes with that.”