Among Japan’s smaller, regional governments, Tomakomai city in Hokkaido maintains a distinct lead over their peers in terms of the degree to which their engagement with IR operators and other related businesses has advanced.
The deadline for their initial RFI process was reached on September 22, and they received a total of fifteen responses from various companies.
Masahito Machida, executive director of Tomakomai city’s International Resort Strategy Office, explained to Asia Gaming Brief that eight of the responses came from international IR operators, and seven came from domestic companies. “It was more than we expected,” Machida observed.
The seven Japanese companies that responded were not seeking to operate an IR themselves, but rather seeking secondary roles. The industries represented were mainly from the construction industry, real estate companies, and IT companies.
As for the international IR operators, Machida revealed that they were “mainly” US-based companies, and that next month—November—city officials of Tomakomai are planning to tour in the United States to meet with various operators and to inspect existing IR facilities in that country. This may be followed in future months by tours to other IR-hosting nations as well.
By the end of next March, the local government intends to complete its “Tomakomai IR Master Plan.”
Meanwhile, this municipality is not neglecting its own residents as well, hosting a series of “IR Citizen Seminars” to explain its policies regarding gambling addiction and other matters of public concern. The next such seminar is scheduled for Monday, October 23.