Hisatake Kamori: Rusutsu can be “first mover” in Japan IR industry

Kamori Kanko President Hisatake Kamori has stepped up his public campaign to gain an IR license at Rusutsu village, claiming that it could become the “first mover” in the industry as it is prepared to quickly open its doors.

“An IR in Rusutsu can open with a cutting-edge environmentally sustainable design in a fraction of the time required to develop IRs in Japan’s more densely populated areas. This makes Rusutsu the first mover,” he stated.

Kamori explained that the existing resort already offers nearly 850 accommodations which can support approximately 3,500 guests nightly, and that village already has a total of fourteen meeting and conference facilities that, collectively, can provide a capacity of nearly 2,500 attendees.

Kamori’s appeal continues, “As the earliest possible market entrant, the Rusutsu IR will also be the perfect test case for the IR dynamic in Japan, from a commercial, regulatory and social perspective. Commercially, important questions regarding gaming behavior and player spending patterns in Japan will be answered first in Rusutsu. The interaction between pachinko and IR gaming will play out in real time, and the impact of the sizable casino entrance fee being levied in Japan will be revealed.”

Kamori also claims that Rusutsu is better positioned to deal with associated social problems: “Rusutsu will support responsible gaming beyond what is achievable in other markets in Hokkaido and Japan. This is because the greater distance to Rusutsu for local players, compared to more urban projects, will serve as an inherent check on the frequency play.”

The political obstacles to the achievement of Kamori’s goals, however, still appear nearly insurmountable. To succeed, a governor and prefectural assembly supportive of an IR bid will need to be elected in April, and then that new governor would have to be willing to overrule the recent conclusion of the Hokkaido IR Experts’ Committee headed by Shuji Koiso, which named Tomakomai city as the preferred IR location within the prefecture.