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More scrutiny needed in selection of a regional city

Selecting the appropriate location for a rural integrated resort will be more difficult than big-city counterparts, said a panel at the Japan Gaming Congress in Tokyo.

As opposed to big-cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, the smaller regions vying for licenses have relatively underutilized tourism and infrastructure resources.

Some regional cities will be more suitable than others, said the panelists.

It depends on the amount of tourists the IR can host once built, and how much the region naturally attracts on its own, said Masaru Sugiyama, vice president of Goldman Sachs Japan.

Once built, a regional IR will likely become the main reason for visitation to that region. Thus, it must have synergy with the region in which it is located, he said.

Kanji Matsushita, associate managing officer of the Takenaka Corporation, said that the government needs to also consider whether the regional city has the appropriate level of infrastructure and tourist resources.

If these cities need to add tourist attractions first, this would be yet another hurdle that must be overcome, he said.

“There has to be a definition of how the government chooses a rural city,” he added.

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