Yokohama Japan Delays Integrated Resort Policy Announcement
Posted on: August 20, 2020, 11:38h.
Last updated on: August 20, 2020, 01:46h.
Yokohama is delaying its announcement of the city’s integrated resort (IR) policy. Mayor Fumiko Hayashi is blaming the central government for the postponement.
Japan’s second-largest city by population is one of the leading candidates for an IR casino. In the country, the central government is finalizing its Basic Policy that will regulate the three multibillion-dollar resorts.
But the COVID-19 crisis has slowed Japan’s government in coming to terms with its forthcoming gaming industry governing conditions. As a result, Hayashi says the city is forced to delay telling interested casino operators what it will require locally for a bid to qualify for consideration.
The city cannot make public its IR implementation policy … where the [central] government does not announce their Basic Policy,” Hayashi said during a press conference this week.
Yokohama had planned to unveil its IR policy this month. “The city will keep watching carefully,” the mayor added. “At this moment, the city has no knowledge about when the government will announce the Basic Policy.”
City Demands Development
In announcing the news that the city’s IR scheme is on hold indefinitely until the central government acts, Hayashi reaffirmed her commitment to bringing a commercial casino resort to Yokohama.
She emphasized that there’s been no change to the city’s wishes to land one of the three IR licenses. The period for prefectures and cities to submit their casino proposals to the central government is set to run from January 4 to July 30 of next year.
Yokohama pushing back its own policy is the latest setback to the city’s casino aspirations.
Las Vegas Sands, once considered the front-runner to snag one of the three IRs, announced in May its withdrawal from the race. Sands was targeting Yokohama and Tokyo.
The framework around the development of an IR has made our goals there unreachable,” Sands billionaire CEO Sheldon Adelson said at the time. “It is time for our company to focus our energy on other opportunities.”
Wynn Resorts, another US-based casino giant that, like Sands, operates in China’s Macau, announced the closure of its Yokohama office earlier this month.
“We decided that until there’s more clarity on what the business is going to look like, what the world is going to look like, and what regulations are over there, we’re pretty much ceasing our efforts [in Japan],” Wynn CEO Matt Maddox explained.
Casinos Ill at Ease
The world’s largest casino companies, three of which are headquartered in the US — Sands, Wynn, and MGM Resorts — are growing impatient with Japan’s central government in issuing its final Basic Policy.
Japan’s national leaders gave itself a July 26, 2020, deadline to reveal the IR implementation law. But that date came and went without the Basic Policy being published.
COVID-19 has been blamed for stalling progress. Bay City Ventures Managing Director Joji Kokuryo tells Casino.org that a more concrete date is the July 30, 2021, submission deadline.
“There is no date more important,” Kokuryo told Casino.org. “This clear deadline affects every single timeline.”
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