Yokohama has boosted the team tasked with the city’s effort to host one of Japan’s first integrated casino resorts as the nation looks to tap into the Las Vegas/Macau-style gaming sector to grow international visits.
It has emerged that Yokohama is set to increase the number of people in its IR promotion office to 39 from 25, effective April 1.
The office operates under the city’s Urban Development Bureau and is responsible for handling everything related to Yokohama’s bid to host an integrated resort. Japan’s second largest city announced that it would participate in the race for hosting the nation’s first integrated resorts with casino gaming last summer.
Its announcement immediately drew attention from some major gaming and hospitality companies which had previously pursued development opportunities in Osaka. Las Vegas Sands, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts were among the casino powerhouses who dropped their Osaka plans in favor of potential expansion in Yokohama.
Boosting IR Promotion Effort
The addition of more staff to promote Yokohama’s integrated resort bid came as another indication of how serious the city feels about winning the right to host a property of this kind.
Last week, the Yokohama city council allocated JPY400 million (approx. 3.6 million) for its effort to promote the establishment of a multi-purpose integrated resort with a casino, among a number of other facilities.
The allocated funds are set to be used for various activities conducted by the city’s Urban Development Bureau.
News that Yokohama is ramping up its effort to become the host of one of Japan’s first casino resorts emerge just as another contender seems to be slowing things down due to the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on society and economy.
Osaka prefecture officials announced on Monday that they will now close the ongoing request-for-proposal (RFP) process in July instead of April and announce the winning company that would develop and operate its integrated resort, should it win the right to host one, at some point in September.
It became known earlier this year that MGM Resorts International was the sole candidate that qualified to participate in the RFP process.
Yokohama to Launch RFP around Mid-2020
Yokohama published its draft integrated resort implementation policy in mid-March and simultaneously launched a public consultation window seeking comments on the legal framework. The city intends to finalize and release the policy in June.
It will then be able to launch an RFP process as it looks to secure a private sector partner to build and manage its integrated resort.
As mentioned earlier, the city has attracted interest from some of the world’s largest IR operators with properties in Las Vegas and Macau. It became known late last year that seven major companies have submitted their concepts for mega-resorts to Yokohama officials.