Japan’s Yokohama (pictured) announced on Friday its city-council draft budget for financial-year 2021, including JPY360 million (US$3.4 million) for work related to the city’s effort at getting a casino complex, or integrated resort (IR) as they are known in that nation.
The sum was earmarked for the city’s Urban Development Bureau, according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
The IR-related effort under the 2021 budget would include JPY83 million to be spent, variously, on the city’s IR development plan and Yokohama’s request-for-proposal (RFP) process.
The latter is aimed at private-sector entities interested in being Yokohama’s partner on a casino resort, as required under national-level protocols.
A larger sum within the budget – i.e., JPY102 million – is to be spent by the metropolis on “the promotion of public understanding” on the benefits of an IR, according to GGRAsia’s correspondent.
A number of community groups has lobbied against the notion of having a casino resort as a form of local economic stimulus and way of boosting inbound tourism.
Other items in the JPY360-million budget for IR-related work, are: JPY155 million for research on infrastructure and transport access to any Yokohama IR site, and JPY20 million to conduct a background check on RFP participants, regarding their respective suitability as partners.
News of the money being earmarked for 2021 came just over a week after Yokohama announced on January 21 the timeline for its RFP.
The RFP process includes two phases: the first running from February to May, followed by a second phase between June 1 and June 11.
Five out of seven private-sector firms that had earlier expressed interest in partnering with Yokohama also took part in that city’s fresh request-for-concept stage, the metropolis confirmed on January 21.
Those included: Macau operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd; Genting Singapore Ltd, promoter of Singapore casino complex Resorts World Sentosa; global casino group Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd; Japan-based entertainment and gaming conglomerate Sega Sammy Holdings Inc; and Japanese group Shotoku Corp.
The two dropping out since the initial RFC phase were Las Vegas Sands Corp and Wynn Resorts Ltd, two United States-based groups that are also respectively parent firms to Asian casino operations.
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”We committed to the government to provide a full business idea and plan for Phase 1b around 12 months after the casino opens, therefore, probably early 2025”
President of the Mohegan Inspire Entertainment Resort in South Korea