The Japanese city of Yokohama (pictured) announced on Tuesday the establishment of an integrated resort (IR) promotion office. The new body will oversee matters related with the city’s aspirations to be selected to host one of Japan’s first casino resorts.
The IR promotion office will be officially launched on Friday. It will be under Yokohama’s City Urban Development Bureau. The office will have a team of 25 officials, according to information collated by GGRAsia’s Japan correspondent.
Yokohama proposed in September a JPY400-million (US$3.7 million) supplementary budget for promotion of its IR ambitions, to cover financial years 2019 to 2021.
Japan’s central authorities will allow a maximum of three casino resorts – known in Japan as an integrated resort or “IR” – in the first phase of market liberalisation.
Earlier this month, 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 this year.
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.
Those local governments qualified to apply to the national government for permission to host an IR – namely prefectures and ordinance-level cities – need to team with private-sector partners prior making their bid to the national government.
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 that country.
In mid-September, Asian casino operator and developer Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd said it would adopt a “Yokahama First” policy in its pursuit of a Japan casino licence.
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”They want us to invest as well. The government there wants to see growth in Macau. We are not that concerned about that issue [licence renewal] at all”
Chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands