Integrated resorts offer the perfect holiday destination for guests to stay in a hotel and have access to various entertainment and shopping experiences. Most integrated resorts have expanded their offer and include casinos and art museums, restaurants, luxury retail, and much more for the entertainment of their guests. With time, this concept has quickly spread around the globe - more and more integrated resorts are being built to meet the increase in demand.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the top resorts around the world and see the integrated resorts scene in Japan.
What Is an Integrated Resort?
An integrated resort refers to a casino that has integrated a hotel, a theme park, fine dining, or other non-gambling facilities. These are often referred to as IRs or IRC, short for Integrated Resort Casino. Even though the name was popularized in the early 2010s, however, the concept dates way back. IRs are characterized by three main features: integration, mass market, and scale. The facilities that the resorts integrate include premises for both gambling and non-gambling activities, which is something that also attracts a much greater target audience, including tourists and locals.
Finally, IRs are typically extensive in scale, both in size and their contribution to the economy. For example, Marina Bay Sands in Macau is estimated at around SGD$8 billion and features over 2,500 rooms.
The First IRs
Technically speaking, the first integrated resort was Wynn’s Mirage in 1989. Being the first of its kind on the Las Vegas Strip, this luxury hotel and casino retreat completely changed the idea of the way the whole world perceived entertainment. However, considering that the term integrated resorts was primarily used in Singapore, many argue that the first integrated resort didn’t become available until the 2010s. Around this time, the Resort World Sentosa and the Marina Bay Sands were being constructed in Singapore. Since then, the term has slowly gotten adopted worldwide, and integrated resorts have become a global thing.
Top 3 Integrated Resorts Around the World
Out of the 50 largest hotels in the world, 39 are integrated resorts that enclose separate gaming sections. Following are some of the best IRs in the world:
First World Hotel & Plaza
This complex is located in Genting Highlands, Malaysia. It is designed as a 3-tower complex with 7,351 rooms, holding a Guinness World Record title. The Plaza is right above the hotel's lobby, so visitors can have a good time at the casino, the many retail stores, dining areas, and entertainment attractions.
Marina Bay Sands
This is the second most expensive casino in Singapore. Boasting 500 gaming tables and 2,500 slot machines, it has a science museum and grand theater, too, for those looking for something other than gambling. SkyPark, located on the 57th floor, features a 500-foot, 360 infinity pool.
Caesar’s Palace is one of the most famous integrated resorts in Las Vegas. It offers its guests lavish rooms and vast gaming spaces. The whole area is conceptually designed to resemble the Ancient Roman style - starting from the rooms and to the spa and baths.
Upcoming Integrated Resorts in Japan
The path for IRs in Japan opened in 2018 with the Integrated Resorts Implementation Act that came into force in July of 2021. As soon as this happened, many resorts showed interest in opening up a subsidiary in Japan.
This law, however, limited the IRs to only three in Japan. Currently, there are three key municipalities for IRs - Osaka, Wakayama, and Nagasaki.
So far, this municipality has had several talks with Clairvest Neem Ventures. The investment is estimated to be around $4 billion, allowing for a resort of 569,000 square meters, with approximately 2,700 rooms for guests. The casino is expected to take 38,000 square meters of the whole area.
Osaka is the only municipality that has secured an agreement with MGM Resorts about opening an IR. The resort will be located on the island of Yumeshima, and it’s worth an investment of around $10 billion. It’s estimated to spread on 10,000 square meters of hotel space with approximately 2,500 rooms.
This first IR is expected to enter the scene simultaneously with the Osaka-Kensai expo in 2025.
Nagasaki is the only municipality that hasn’t set a formal deal with any IR so far. However, there are several interested parties, such as Casinos Austria, Oshidori Consortium, and NIKI Chyau Fwu.
Considering the current state of the world, the initial plans of opening up IRs in Japan by 2025 may seem unrealistic (aside from Osaka, which has a firm agreement). The more accepted view is that these casino and hotel resorts will be fully completed by 2028.