The first integrated resort (IR) exhibition in the city of Yokohama (pictured) is to take place on January 29 and 30, 2020, at the Pacific Convention Plaza Yokohama. That is according to a Thursday press release by the Japan IR Expo Yokohama Executive Committee.
“We have decided to hold an exhibition that brings together products and services indispensable for Japanese IRs in response to the growing demand for trade fairs from the business world,” stated the release.
It added: “This is an industrial trade fair specialising in integrated resorts that will be held for the first time in the Tokyo metropolitan area, following Osaka (held in May 2019) and Hokkaido (to be held in December 2019).”
The mayor in the city of Yokohama publicly declared last month – for the first time – support for the idea of getting a casino resort there. “We must look to Yokohama’s future, the 20 to 30 years ahead,” Fumiko Hayashi reportedly stated. “I’ve come to the conclusion that in order to achieve growth and development, we need IR,” she added.
Yokohama’s mayor reiterated that a 47-hectare (116-acre) site on the city’s waterfront at Yamashita pier was the preferred site for a casino complex. Yokohama is Japan’s second-largest metropolis by population.
Large-scale casino resorts – typically including big hotels, conference facilities and shops and known locally as integrated resorts or “IRs” – have been presented by Japan’s national government as a useful form of economic stimulus and a way to boost inbound international tourism.
Japan’s national government announced on Wednesday the draft basic policy for the country’s IRs.
Key points of the draft basic policy – announced by the Japan Tourism Agency and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism – included: whether a candidate location and its proposed scheme is internationally competitive; whether it has a high-quality facility that can host large conferences; and whether it can be accessed easily from major cities within Japan and places abroad.
Would-be host communities must first find private-sector partners, and then apply to the national government for the right to have such a facility. Up to three will be permitted in a first stage of market liberalisation.
A number of international casino operators has declared interest in vying for a Japan casino resort licence, including in Yokohama. Casino investor Melco International Development Ltd said earlier this week that it would soon open an office in Yokohama.
U.S.-based casino firm Las Vegas Sands Corp announced in August it would focus on the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Yokohama in its effort to be allowed to build a casino resort in that country. In a press release, Las Vegas Sands said it would no longer pursue such an opportunity in Osaka.
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”There are likely to be cancellations of some Chinese New Year casino and junket parties and events [in Macau]”
Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu
Sanford Bernstein analysts