Melco Still Committed To Japan Casino Market Even After Yokohama Snub

Melco Still Committed To Japan Casino Market Even After Yokohama Snub September 14, 2021 September 15, 2021 Carolyn Dutton
 Industry September 14, 2021 by Carolyn Dutton

Melco Resorts & EntertainmentMelco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd who dropped Osaka were very keen on pushing forward with its plans to build an integrated resort (IR) in Yokohama, Japan. However those plans had to be shelved after Yokohama decided to drop out of the IR race.

Yokohama was one of the main prefectures that were vying to get permission from the federal government to develop a multi-billion dollar IR. The city put out a request for proposal (RFP) and asked interested casino operators to submit a draft proposal outlining their investment plans and what they would create in Yokohama, if they were given a casino license.

Yokohama had to select one casino operator and then present their proposal to the federal government and bid for an IR license. Melco Resorts and Genting Singapore Ltd, were the two operators in the front running to win the bid.

However, things changed significantly after new Mayor Takeharu Yamanaka was selected in Yokohama. Unlike the previous Mayor, Yamanaka was not in favour of casino styled gambling and decided that Yokohama will not make a bid to secure an IR.

Once Yamanaka made his stance clear, Melco Resorts and Genting Singapore Ltd had no option but to withdraw their proposals. Melco has closed down its office in Yokohama but will keep a representative office open in Tokyo.

Chairman and CEO of Melco, Lawrence Ho said that while they were disappointed to see Yokohama drop out of the IR race, the friendships and experience that they gained while preparing for a potential IR in Yokohama was invaluable and will serve them in the long run.

Melco Still Interested In Japan

Ho said that while their plans for an IR in Yokohama had come to an end, it did not signify an end to their interest in the Japanese casino market. Melco spent close to a decade studying the Japanese casino market and preparing for a potential IR in the country.

Ho said they were keen to use this market knowledge and establish an IR in Japan. By maintaining a representative office in Tokyo, it appears that Melco might want to pursue an IR in Tokyo. The capital city hasn’t given any clear indication if they will proceed with an IR proposal.

All prefectures are required to submit an IR proposal by the end of April 28, 2022. The Japanese government will approve three prefectures to host three IRs.

Carolyn is our legislation expert, with a background in law she is able to cover the current state of gambling around the world