The city of Yokohama (pictured), Japan’s second-largest metropolis by population, has received requests for information from 12 organisations regarding the chance of building a casino resort there, according to information collated by GGRAsia.
The Kanagawa Shimbun newspaper said the city authorities had accepted paperwork from eight foreign entities, which it identified as including Caesars Entertainment Corp, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd.
GGRAsia has separately been told there were also document submissions accepted from two domestic entities; and from two other unspecified organisations.
Most major global casino operators have expressed an interest in developing an integrated resort in Japan. Some of these companies have established branches or subsidiaries in that country.
According to local sources, Yokohama’s request for information process is no guarantee that the city will actually move ahead with a bid to the national government to host one of three casino resorts slated for the first phase of market liberalisation.
Yokohama City is now expected to look into the paperwork it has received. By the end of March 2019 it will put together what has been termed a comprehensive report due to be the basis for whether the city will form a clear-cut bid to the central authorities for a casino resort; known as an integrated resort (IR) in Japan.
According to the Kanagawa Shimbun, the most likely location would be the Odaiba waterfront area, near to Yamashita pier.
In early September it emerged that approximately 94 percent of citizens in Yokohama City expressing a view on the idea of a casino resort indicated “negative” opinions. The topic of casino resorts arose in the context of a local-government survey on public policy.
According to publicly-available information, the mayor of Yokohama, Fumiko Hayashi – who was re-elected in July 2017 for a third consecutive term – had at one stage spoken in favour of hosting a casino resort, but turned “neutral” on the topic in January 2017, in the run-up to the mayoral poll that year.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China