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integrated resorts
Yokohama tries to convince public that integrated resorts are good
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The Japanese city of Yokohama has a steep hill to climb if it hopes to stay in the integrated resort bidding competition. Hoping to convince the public that it’s still worth it, the town’s leaders recently held it’s first of six public briefings to explain why an IR is worth it.“We hope that you will understand the various attractions of an IR, the job creation, positive impact on Yokohama’s economic development and the contribution to the city’s finances,” said Deputy Mayor Toshihide Hirahara.“I believe that this will be one of the sparks needed for economic recovery after coronavirus,” he added.Of the questions that the public asked included how much revenue the city can expect to gain from an IR. City officials responded that 15% of the casino’s revenue would go toward the city, as well as entry fees for Japanese citizens. On top of that, with the added jobs and business that an IR would bring, tax revenues would surely increase.Yokohama continues to push ahead with their plans for an IR bid, despite heavy public opposition. A vocal portion of the public have expressed their concerns of the negative effects a casino might bring, and have demanded the city drop out of the race. Mayor Fumiko Hayashi has decided not to allow a public referendum on the topic, instead opting to publicize the benefits of an IR. Her detractors aren’t happy with this route, and have started a recall campaign to end the mayor’s career, and the bid.Although Yokohama’s government has shown no intention of dropping out of the race, its hard to imagine their bid will impress the central government with so much opposition. Wynn Resorts have announced that while they are still interested in a Japanese IR, they have no interest in the drama that’s happening in Yokohama.Yokohama has five more tries to convince the public that they should settle down and get serious about an IR bid. The remaining meetings will be held by March 14.
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Wynn still interested in Japan, despite dwindling options
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Don’t count Wynn Resorts out of the Japanese Integrated Resort (IR) competition just yet. The casino operator denies reports that they’ve abandoned the hunt, while a European operator is reported to be cutting back on their own efforts.“Wynn Resorts continues to closely monitor the integrated-resort situation in Japan and views the country as a strong potential market,” Wynn told the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper.Reports surfaced earlier this week that Wynn was bowing out of a potential Yokohama bid, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still interested in Japan. It’s just Yokohama has too many issues, they write:“While Wynn’s positive pursuit of an IR development in the country is undiminished, it will not be participating in the upcoming request-for-proposal process by the City of Yokohama, because there is not yet clarity regarding the post-COVID-19 international IR market nor the definitive national basic policy to meaningfully update our previously submitted plans and to complete, with the necessary detail, the documents published by the city.”While Yokohama hasn’t given up on IRs just yet, the public pressure against them could force the mayors hand, and push him out off office, or merely off the prospects of an IR license. Either way, that’s a lot of uncertainty for a major casino operator to bet on.But despite Wynn’s remarks that Wynn was still watching Japan, Chief Executive Matt Maddox has previously said, “Back in March, we decided that until there’s more clarity on what the business is going to look like, what the world is going to look like, and what the regulations really are over there, we’re pretty much ceasing our efforts.”With Osaka’s bid cornered by MGM Resorts, Mohegan Gaming looking at Nagasaki, and Yokohama out of the picture, that leaves few options left for Wynn to consider. Wakayama, maybe?Meanwhile, Inside Asia Gaming reports Groupe Barrière are winding down their Japanese IR efforts, specifically for Wakayama. The European casino operator failed to reply to Wakayama’s Request for Proposal (RFP) process, and isn’t expected to submit plans for Nagasaki’s either. The operator is likely struggling from shutdowns of its casinos, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.That leaves Suncity Group Holdings and Clairvest Neem Ventures as the sole interested parties in Wakayama for the moment, unless Wynn wants to get back into the mix.
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