Casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd announced in a statement published online on Wednesday a “Yokohama focus” to its campaign to win a Japan casino licence.
The United States-based group – parent of Macau casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd – also said it would be opening an office on Sunday (December 15) for an entity called Wynn Resorts Development Japan. It would be located in Yokohama (pictured).
Matt Maddox, the chief executive of Wynn Resorts, was cited in a press release as saying the group would talk to and listen carefully to local governments, companies and residents, and adopt a “Yokohama focus” in relation to a possible partnership with a Japanese city for development and operation of a “unique” Japanese integrated resort or “IR”. The latter term is used in Japan to denote large-scale casino complexes with hotels, meeting space, shops and entertainment facilities.
In September the Wynn brand’s Macau casino market rival Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd said it would adopt a “Yokohama First” policy in its pursuit of a Japan casino licence. A total capital spend of as much as US$10 billion has been mentioned in relation to such a scheme. Melco Resorts added at the time of its Yokohama-related statement it had ended its interest in Osaka as a site for a Japan resort project.
Wynn Resorts confirmed in a statement emailed to GGRAsia in mid-October that it would no longer vie to be chosen as a private-sector partner for a casino resort bid in Osaka. The company added at the time it was instead “currently focused” on the Kanto region, which includes Yokohama.
In late October the Yokohama government announced the setting up of an integrated resort promotion office. It said the new body would oversee matters related with the city’s aspirations to be selected to host one of Japan’s first casino resorts. Japan’s central government will have the final say on the sites for such projects.
In mid-October the Yokohama authorities had announced the launch of a request-for-concept process (RFC) aimed at private-sector entities interested in running a casino resort there. The deadline for submission of concepts is December 23.
On completion of Yokohama’s RFC process, the city is planning to publish next spring its IR implementation policy, and then launch a request-for-proposal stage.
A maximum of three IRs will be allowed nationally in a first phase of market liberalisation. The national government is yet to announce its finalised “basic policy” on the IR issue, but is expected by commentators to do so in the first quarter of 2020.
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Non-executive chairman of Donaco International