Yokohama Casino Resort Submission Period Ends, Genting Front-Runner

Posted on: June 11, 2021, 07:57h. 

Last updated on: July 19, 2021, 01:19h.

Yokohama has concluded its request-for-proposal submission period for its potential integrated casino resort development.

Yokohama Japan casino integrated resort
Yokohama and the Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris wheel. The Japanese city is reviewing two qualifying integrated casino resort pitches. It can only select one to move forward with in bidding the central government for a gaming license. (Image: Shutterstock)

Japan’s second-largest city by population, Yokohama and the Kanagawa Prefecture announced today that it is no longer accepting development schemes from interested commercial casino consortiums. 

The city confirmed receipt of two qualifying submissions. They come from global gaming giants Genting Group and Melco Resorts. 

Yokohama Casino Bids

Through its subsidiary, Genting Singapore, Yokohama confirmed that Genting Group is one of the two finalists. 

Genting Singapore owns and operates Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore. Genting Group also has resort casinos in Malaysia, United Kingdom, United States, Philippines, South Korea, and Bahamas. 

“Further to Genting Singapore Limited’s Extraordinary General Meeting held on February 4, 2020, with regard to the proposed bid for an Integrated Resort project in Japan, the Company wishes to announce that it is leading a consortium of local Japanese corporates and has submitted a bid in response to the Yokohama City Request for Proposal,” a company statement to investors explained. “We are pleased to announce that our submission consortium comprises reputable Japanese corporates, including Sega Sammy Holdings Inc., Sohgo Security Services Co., Ltd., Kajima Corporation, Takenaka Corporation, and Obayashi Corporation.”

Genting Singapore adds that there “is no assurance” that it will be selected. 

Though Yokohama confirmed Genting Singapore as one of the finalists for its casino resort opportunity, it did not specifically identify the other bidding contender. However, Japanese public broadcast station NHK said on May 31 that it is Melco Resorts’ consortium with Japan-based construction developer Taisei Corporation. 

Melco, which owns and operates integrated resorts in Macau and the Philippines, and is under construction in Cyprus, has long been upbeat about entering Japan.

We remain committed to bringing a world-leading IR [in Japan],” Melco Resorts CEO Lawrence Ho said during the company’s earnings call in April. “While COVID continues to present challenges in terms of aspects of process timing and travel, IR in Japan has continued to move forward and we remain convinced that Japan represents the best potential new gaming market globally.”

Maybank, the largest financial services firm in Malaysia, believes Genting is the odds-on favorite in Yokohama.

“In our view, Genting Singapore scores better in promoting tourism, management, and financial ability and responsible gambling initiatives relative to Melco,” a recent Maybank note opined. 

City Against City

Japan’s casino law authorizes three integrated resorts. Four cities are interested. Along with Yokohama, Wakayama, Osaka, and Nagasaki are preparing their schemes to pitch the central government. 

Wakayama has just one qualifying bid. It comes from Canadian private equity firm Clairvest Group. 

A consortium led by MGM Resorts is the favorite in Osaka. However, because of the global financial impacts caused by COVID-19, MGM said recently that it would seek a reduced investment role in the project. 

Nagasaki has three proposals from Oshidori International, Casinos Austria, and the NIKI Group. Oshidori is considered the front-runner among analysts, largely because of it partnering with global gaming operator Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment.