Macau in China has been the mecca for casino gambling in Asia since the early 2000s. China paved the way for its first casino hotel and resort properties in 2002. Most of the top casino and entertainment companies in Las Vegas have gained a foothold in that market over the past 17 years.
Japan is now the new frontier for casino gambling in Asia. That country is in the process of issuing ‘integrated resort’ licenses that will offer legal casino gambling. Many of those same Las Vegas gaming giants have thrown their hat into the ring to secure one of those IR licenses.
Hard Rock International made headlines for its Hokkaido integrated resort plans. The competition to be first to market in Japan has been fierce. The process is ongoing and landing an IR license would give the winner a leg up on the competition. Hard Rock has made its intentions rather clear that it wants to be a frontrunner in that race.
See How Hard Rock Makes a Hard Play for Japanese Casino
An official company press release from Jan. 11 details the plans for an IR in Hokkaido. The proposed plan would be built around a monorail system that would have direct access to the local airport.
There would be a signature guitar-shaped hotel tower along with a Four Seasons luxury hotel. Also included in the plans is a major entertainment venue. There is also a proposal health and well-being center. Add in 215,000 square feet of retail and dining space, and this is quite a comprehensive and ambitious plan. Appealing to the local culture, the design would focus on an authentic Ainu village experience. Also, Ainu are local indigenous people.
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This is just part of the grand plan. Partnerships have been formed with the New York Yankees and Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment. The latter is an entertainment company that focuses on Broadway Theater presentations.
Hokkaido Integrated Resort Showcase
Yes, there is a recent Hokkaido Integrated Resort Showcase. Furthermore, Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen is in attendance. He states, “We are extremely excited about the prospect of introducing our Hard Rock family to the people of Hokkaido. After that, he says, Japan with this world-class entertainment resort. It will not only bring economic benefits to the local community but also act as a gateway to learn more about the wonderful heritage of Japan and all it has to offer.”
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Hard Rock Has future plans in the region
Indeed, this was the first big announcement by Hard Rock on its future plans in the region. There are only three IR licenses available overall to heighten the competition. Furthermore, Kamori Kanko comes to the table with its plans. As a result, this group looks to incorporate popular outdoor activities. For example, skiing to capitalize on the island’s colder months. Also, Rush Street is also in the mix in the Hokkaido region. However, with less detailed plans as of now.
Furthermore, people believe that all three IR licenses will not be located in Hokkaido. Other areas in Japan showing interest start with Osaka as one of the favorites. There are already 11 different groups with plans in the works. Yokohama and Tokyo were also mentioned in the post.