When a major Japanese municipality reveals that seven integrated resort (IR) operators are participating in their RFC process, that would seem to be the headline of the day. However, that may be playing second fiddle – maybe even third fiddle – to a blockbuster day in casino news in Japan, highlighted by former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather’s reported interest in making a bid to develop his own casino empire.
It starts with Mayweather, who has let it be known that he has visions of opening a casino on the Japanese island of Okinawa. While facing an uphill battle due to the high degree of regulations governing casinos within the country, that is not stopping the former boxing champ from stepping into the ring in the gambling market.
According to Hong Kong promoter Jay Lau, “Mayweather came to Tokyo to set up TMT Japan because of the Japan casinos that open in the next year. There are casinos opening in Cambodia, Singapore, and China as well. It means boxing will get more and more popular.”
Meanwhile, Hirofumi Yoshimura, the Governor of Osaka Prefecture announced that Osaka prefecture and the city will begin the formal recruitment process looking for an IR operator this December. The goal is to find an IR facility for the YumeshimaIsland. The winning applicant will be named in the spring next year.
Back on Yokohama, the municipal government has announced that seven IR operators are participating in the RFC process. The goal is to start the development of the Yamashita Pier, looking to convert it into a major urban IR.
While the names of the seven IR operators have not been released, it is expected that six companies – Sands, Melco, Galaxy, Genting, Sega Sammy, and Wynn – are interested in making bids. At this point, no one seems to know the identity of the seventh company.
It is expected that Yokohama will select their IR operator sometime in 2021. The goal would be to receive the licensure from the central government and to begin operations in the new facility sometime late in the next decade. It is expected that the total cost involved in getting the facility operational will exceed $10 billion.
Besides the IR operators, there are a number of other firms looking to partner with Yokohama RFC. This includes four domestic real estate developers and 15 firms who are looking to supply the technology services to the casino.