As the gambling industry waits to see how and when Japan’s integrated resort (IR) site develops, some casino operators have already withdrawn plans to become part of the nascent industry. Others, including Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment, are happy to wait on the sidelines as the nation deals with more crucial issues. The firm behind the Mohegan Sun casino and others is biding its time, but it may not hang on forever.
Mohegan Gaming Chief Executive Mario Kontomerkos corresponded with GGRAsiavia email, offering some insight into the company’s plans. The firm announced 12 months ago that it was considering the Hokkaido prefecture as a probable preferred site for its IR. However, the company is now ready to consider other locations.
Kontomerkos told the media outlet, “While we are unable to confirm specific regional locations, Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment is a company that specializes in large-scale master-planned resort development in global destination markets, including a new, world-class integrated entertainment resort… located at one of the busiest airport hubs in Northern Asia.”
The reference to the resort at an airport hub is particularly regarding Inspire, an IR Mohegan Gaming is building in Incheon, South Korea. Construction on that site has started, with the initial phase expected to open in 2022. That phase comprises a foreigner-only casino, a large arena for public events and a 1,256-key 5-star hotel.
Mohegan Gaming and CEO Kontomerkos will have to consider venues other than Hokkaido if it expects to be involved in one of the first 3 IR initiatives in Japan. The prefecture’s government decided in November last year that the timing isn’t right for the location to host a casino, and explained that it dies plan on participating in the eventual bidding war that will happen.
That does not mean it would not consider getting involved at some point, as business groups in the region apply pressure on the local government, but it could move slowly.