Hotel and resort giant Kamori Kanko and property developer Niseko Alpine Developments (NISADE) have announced plans to bid for a Japan casino license as part of a multi-million dollar expansion of Rusutsu Resort in Hokkaido.
The all-Japanese partnership will see at least US$700 million plowed into Rusutsu – a popular winter ski resort owned by Kamori Kanko and boasting four hotels as well as an amusement park and golf courses – over the next two years.
However, NISADE Chairman Jonathan Martin revealed a far more ambitious development plan over the weekend that “includes a strong bid platform for one of the upcoming Integrated Resort Licenses for Japan – possibly one of the first casinos in the country.”
In a joint announcement, Kamori Kanko President Kimihito Kamori said the partnership provided a unique opportunity to expand its offerings including bidding for a casino license should IR legislation pass through the Japanese Diet as expected in mid-2018.
“Unlike the structure of other Hokkaido resorts, we own Rusutsu in its entirety, including the resort, ski lifts, golf courses and theme park,” Kamori said. “Subsequently, Rusutsu’s redevelopment requires a highly strategic approach and we found the perfect partner in NISADE, who have been instrumental in identifying the path to executing Rusutsu’s long-term growth plan.”
The current development plan will take place across multiple phases with the US$200 million first phase including luxury hotel The Vale Rusutsu and a bespoke onsen and spa facility. Additional phases scheduled for 2018 will include retail and entertainment developments and further hotel facilities, estimated at cost of around US$500 million.
Details of what the proposed casino at the resort might look like are yet to be released.
Master planned 30 years ago, Rusutsu Resort is described by Kamori Kanko as Hokkaido’s largest all season resort and “a significant year-round opportunity in the Japanese leisure industry.”