Yokohama city (pictured), which is aiming to host one of Japan’s first casino resorts, is expanding the number of public servants coordinating that effort.
The metropolis is to increase to 39 from 25 – with effect from April 1 – the number of people in its IR promotion office, under the city’s Urban Development Bureau, according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
In Japan casino complexes with tourism facilities such as large-scale hotels and conference and events space are known as integrated resorts or “IRs”. Three such facilities will be allowed in that nation in a first phase of liberalisation. After choosing a private-sector partner, aspiring local governments will need to apply to the central authorities for the right to host one of the country’s first IRs.
On March 24, Yokohama city council voted to allocate JPY400 million (US$3.7 million) in financial-year 2020 for the metropolis’ effort to get a casino complex.
On March 12 Yokohama announced a draft IR implementation policy and said it would go out for public consultation with the aim of finalising in June the policy. After that Yokohama will launch a request-for-proposal (RFP) process aimed at potential partners from the private sector.
In late December it emerged that seven entities – that are already gaming operators in their own right in other markets – had submitted ideas to Yokohama regarding IR schemes.
In October the city had begun a request-for-concept (RFC) phase in its path toward a casino resort.
Companies previously identified as suitors for Yokohama included Genting Singapore Ltd, operator of Resorts World Sentosa casino complex in Singapore, and Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. Those two operators had withdrawn from contention in Osaka during an RFC phase there. Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd and Wynn Resorts Ltd – two casino groups also with Macau operations – have respectively announced a Yokohama focus in their campaign to win a Japan casino licence.
In late August, U.S.-based Las Vegas Sands Corp – that has Macau casinos under its Sands China Ltd unit and also runs an operation in Singapore’s casino duopoly – said it would focus on Tokyo and Yokohama in its effort to be allowed to build a casino resort in Japan.
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