The president of theme park operator Huis Ten Bosch Co. said during a recent interview that the Nagasaki Prefecture-based firm is in the hunt for a company to operate a resort complex next door that would include a casino.

"We're seeking a sophisticated and elegant European-style facility next to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park. We will lease some land to the company (that will operate the resort complex) and receive a small portion of the earnings," President Hideo Sawada said.

Nagasaki Prefecture is among a number of local governments interested in hosting casinos in the event the country's gambling ban is lifted. A bill to legalize casinos was submitted to the Diet last December but still must be debated.

Sawada said local residents are "united" in working to attract a company to operate the resort complex that includes a casino, shopping mall, theaters and other facilities.

"I think we are around 60 percent sure about succeeding in the bid," he added.

Sawada said his company would not directly operate the casino complex, at least in the short term, citing a lack of know-how.

According to Sawada, his company is considering providing about 25,000 sq. meters of land for the resort complex. The land is currently being used for parking at the theme park.