At least 12 entities, eight from outside Japan, are asking about building a casino in Yokohama City, according to the Kanagawa Shimbun.
GGRAsia reported the news that among the companies requesting information on setting up a Yokohama casino are Caesars Entertainment Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, and MGM Resorts International. Apart from these four, two other entities who had submitted related documents to the city are based in Japan, while two remained unidentified.
The Malaysia-based Genting Group, through subsidiary Genting Singapore, disclosed that it has incorporated several subsidiaries, including Genting Yokohama Co., Ltd. and Resorts World Yokohama Co., Ltd.
In spite of the interest from businesses, it is not certain that Yokohama will push through with a bid to host one of three casinos licensed by the Japanese government pursuant to the Integrated Resorts (IR) Implementation Law passed last July. In a survey conducted by the city last May and June, 94% of respondents expressed a “negative” view of having a casino in the city.
The Yokohama government intends to study the requests it has received, and by March 2019 will release its comprehensive study as basis of whether a bid will be made.
Yokohama is the second most populous city in the country, after nearby Tokyo, another favored location for an integrated resort. Aside from the two cities, Osaka has been tagged as a likely casino spot.
Meanwhile, GGRAsia also reported that Shinzo Abe’s recent reelection as prime minister would not make a difference to when casinos are to be constructed and opened. Union Gaming’s Grant Govertsen said, “I don’t think his reelection will have any impact on the IR situation other than it will keep moving it forward. Otherwise this doesn’t change the pace of IR events.” He saw the licenses being issued two years from now yet, and for the casinos to open in 2025.
Mike Tanji, of Gaming Capital Management Inc., said the reelection would not make a difference to the timing of putting up the integrated resorts, noting that the process will involve creation of a casino administration committee and the drafting of guidelines by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. This and several other procedures “will take relatively a long time since our country has no experience in this field,” Tanji said.
Abe has had his popularity plunge due to his commitment to passing the IR bill, on which Japanese citizens remain divided.