Wynn CEO Maddox Confirms Company Has Yokohama State of Mind in Japan

Posted on: December 12, 2019, 08:24h. 

Last updated on: December 12, 2019, 09:59h.

Wynn Resorts, Ltd. (NASDAQ:WYNN) CEO Matt Maddox confirmed the gaming operator is focusing its Japan efforts on Yokohama. The company will soon open an office in that city geared toward driving its initiatives in the country forward.

Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox confirms it’s Yokohama or bust for his company in Japan. (Image: Wall Street Journal)

Wynn Resorts Development Japan, the company’s operating unit dedicated to Asia’s second-largest economy, is slated to open an office in the Yokohama Landmark Tower, located in the Minato Mirai neighborhood of the port city, on Sunday, Dec. 15.

We have been carefully investigating and studying candidate sites all over Japan,” said Maddox in a statement.

In October, Las Vegas-based Wynn pulled out of the competition to bring an integrated resort to Osaka, Japan’s third-largest city. Prior to that, Maddox and his team had played their Japan cards close to their vests, appearing flexible regarding which metropolitan areas they preferred. The only hard confirmation from the company was that it aims to build the world’s largest gaming property in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Making The Call

In announcing it was shifting its focus away from Osaka, Wynn said it would turn its attention to the Kanto region, including the Japanese capital of Tokyo and the Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures.

Yokohama, Japan’s second-largest city, is considered part of that area and enjoys close proximity to Tokyo. Yamashita Pier, the part of the city Yokohama policymakers are pitching as an integrated resort location, is located just 35 minutes from downtown Tokyo.

Yokohama already has many attractive tourist facilities, and its MICE (meeting, incentives, conferencing, exhibitions) facilities have a high potential. We think it is a place where tourists can base their stays in Japan,” said Maddox.

Wynn, the operator of three US casinos and two Macau properties, previously said it expects costs for a Japanese integrated resort to be $8 billion to $9 billion. But analysts have put the number for any company looking to develop high-end properties in Japan at a minimum of $10 billion to as high as $15 billion.

Yokohama Competition

Wynn was among 22 companies that participated in Yokohama’s request for information process last year. Officials in the city are currently conducting a request for concept for phase that is expected to conclude later this month.

Bottom line: Wynn isn’t the only big-name gaming company eyeing the port city. Melco Resorts (NASDAQ:MLC) CEO Lawrence Ho recently confirmed his company overtly prefers Yokohama and has opened an office there as well.

Like Melco and Wynn, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) recently scuttled plans for Osaka, confirming its interest in the Tokyo/Yokohama region. Separately, Melco and Sands have said a Yokohama gaming property will cost at least $10 billion. All three companies compete with each other in Macau.

Yokohama officials are expected to publish findings from the request for concept round in spring 2020 and commence a request for proposal effort soon thereafter.