United States-based casino firm Las Vegas Sands Corp says it will focus on the Japanese cities of Tokyo (pictured) and Yokohama in its effort to be allowed to build a casino resort in that country. In a press release on Thursday, the company announced it would no longer pursue such an opportunity in Osaka.
“For the past several years, we have engaged in a conversation with the Osaka government regarding the possibility of building a world-class integrated resort there,” said Las Vegas Sands chairman and chief executive, Sheldon Adelson, in a prepared statement.
“We thank the people and government there for their professionalism and wish them much success with Expo 2025 and the other initiatives they have planned,” he added.
Las Vegas Sands already has Asian operations via resorts in Macau and one in Singapore. It is the parent company of Macau casino developer Sands China Ltd.
The U.S. casino operator had previously publicly affirmed its interest in Osaka as a location for its Japan casino resort bid. Las Vegas Sands was publicly named in June by the authorities in Osaka as one of the entities that had participated in the prefectural government’s casino resort request-for-concept (RFC) phase.
In Thursday’s release, Mr Adelson was quoted as saying: “Consistent with our long-held strategy and our track record of success in achieving it, our company will drive organic growth by strongly reinvesting in our existing portfolio of properties in Macau, Singapore and Las Vegas, reward our shareholders through our dividend and share repurchase programmes and target new development opportunities that allow us to maintain our industry-leading returns on invested capital – and we think an investment in Tokyo or Yokohama gives us the best opportunity to do exactly that.”
The mayor in the city of Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest metropolis by population, publicly declared on Thursday – for the first time – support for 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.
The local government in Tokyo has not yet publicly made a decision regarding hosting one of Japan’s first three casino resorts. In September, the Bureau of Port and Harbor, an agency of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, announced that it would commission what was termed an “IR impact study on Tokyo” and open a tender process for such a study. The results of the study are yet to be publicly announced.
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