Wynn Resorts Ltd has confirmed in a statement emailed to GGRAsia that it will no longer vie to be chosen as a private-sector partner for a casino resort bid in the Japanese city and prefecture of Osaka. The company is instead “currently focused” on the Kanto region, which includes Tokyo.
Wynn Resorts had in June been publicly identified as one of seven entities involved in Osaka’s request-for-concept (RFC) phase – that began in late April – regarding the possibility of the conurbation hosting a large-scale casino resort, known in Japan as an integrated resort or “IR”.
The United States-based firm – parent of Macau casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd – said in its email to us on Monday: “Wynn Resorts is grateful for the many months of positive dialogue we have enjoyed with the city of Osaka and its citizens, and we appreciate the gracious hospitality we have received from them.”
The statement added: “Although we have decided not to pursue an integrated city resort in Osaka at this time, we wish the city the very best and look forward to following its continued success. Wynn Resorts is currently focused on the Kanto area.”
Kanto is an area of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. The region includes the Greater Tokyo Area and encompasses seven prefectures: Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, and Kanagawa.
Wynn Resorts is the third major international operator publicly linked with Osaka’s RFC phase to pass up the chance to invest in that metropolis.
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 – had said it would focus on Tokyo and Yokohama in its effort to be allowed to build a casino resort in Japan, and would no longer pursue such an opportunity in Osaka.
In mid-September, Asian casino operator and developer Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd said it would adopt a “Yokohama First” policy in its pursuit of a Japan casino licence.
U.S.-based MGM Resorts International, parent of Macau casino licensee MGM China Holdings Ltd, has repeatedly said it is pledged to Osaka in pursuing a Japan casino licence.
Yumeshima, an island formed from land reclaimed from Osaka Bay, has been mentioned by the local authorities as the preferred site for an IR.
Casino firms wishing to be partners of Japanese local authorities in the IR race must win twice: once to be selected as local-government partner: secondly that partner area must also be successful in being chosen by Japan’s national government. A maximum of three resorts and accompanying licences will be permitted in this first phase of casino market liberalisation.
In September 2017, the then chairman and chief executive of Wynn Resorts, Steve Wynn, had mentioned Osaka, Tokyo, and Yokohama as examples of Japanese cities that could support the “highest quality” of staff and supplies necessary for the group to build a new resort.
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