Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd said in a Monday press release it had decided “to not participate” in the “current” request-for-proposal (RFP) process of Japanese metropolis Yokohama regarding the latter’s tilt at getting a casino resort.
The firm said nonetheless that it “remains interested in pursuing an integrated resort licence in Japan”. The term integrated resort or “IR” is used in Japan to define large-scale tourism and business meeting facilities with a casino.
Several other casino brands with Macau interests have either said they were not currently prioritising an attempt at gaining a Japan casino licence, or had for now withdrawn their interest.
Up to three resorts will be permitted under the legal framework for casino legalisation in Japan.
Francis Lui Yiu Tung, vice chairman of Galaxy Entertainment, was quoted in Monday’s announcement as saying the decision factored the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“The world and business climate continues to evolve which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic,” stated the executive.
Mr Lui noted: “We greatly appreciate the opportunity to play an active role in Yokohama’s IR selection process but have decided to not participate at this time.”
He added: “We will continue our dialogue to support Japan in achieving its goal to develop a sustainable and world-class IR industry.”
The executive also mentioned that the group and a partner – Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer from the Principality of Monaco, a firm in which Galaxy Entertainment has an equity interest – had been “actively pursuing discussion” for several years with the Japanese national government and local communities “including Yokohama”.
Galaxy Entertainment is committed to expansion of its existing flagship Macau casino resort, Galaxy Macau.
In March, the company said it had signed an agreement with hospitality group Accor SA, to open an all-suite Raffles-branded hotel at Galaxy Macau.
At the time, Galaxy Entertainment said the 450-suite hotel was scheduled to open in the second half of 2021. At the time of the firm’s selected first-quarter results issued on May 13, the group stated it was targeting to open Raffles at Galaxy Macau “in the later part of 2021 or early 2022.”
(Updated 7pm, May 17)
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