The process of bringing integrated resorts (IRs) to Japan has been somewhat slow. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, Japanese officials were making sure to check everything before making any kind of final decision. As soon as the pandemic befell the world, the talks about IR seem to have stopped. However, they are slowly getting back on the menu, but there are no signs of speeding up.
Some advance is definitely visible, but there are always some additional hurdles that all sides have to cross before making their next step. The whole picture is far away from being painted at the moment, but it would be wrong to say that the painters aren’t doing anything. After all, it’s a complex picture.
One of the most recent news pieces was that Nagasaki closed its RFP (request for proposal), which is an action everyone expected. However, the news from Yokohama is somewhat conflicting, but some operators see that as an advantage to present themselves to the local government.
Nagasaki’s RFPs started coming on on January 7, and the entire process lasted for a total of three weeks. Masahiko Kunihiro, a member of the IR planning department in Nagasaki, said that they had received five applications. The officials will now review all five submissions and decide on the winner sometime in August this year. At this moment, no names of candidates have been publicly announced. Instead, the committee will focus on reviewing them for the next few months before ultimately agreeing on a winner.
Hodo Nakamura, Governor of Nagasaki, said that the Kyushu-Nagasaki IR public tender had started on January 7 and ended at 5 PM on January 28. He added that the five companies that had applied were spanning the US, Europe, and Asia. After that, Nakamura expressed his thanks to the applicants, as well as their partner companies, for sending applications for the IR even though there had been many obstacles on the way — with the most prominent one being Covid-19. Governor Nakamura concluded that the committee would proceed to review IR operators that applied.
The Situation in Yokohama
Another place where IR could be built is the Yokohama prefecture. However, the local government in that area faces more resistance compared to the one in Nagasaki. It has set aside a total of $3.43 million for the new fiscal year, and that budget will be used to promote the benefits of building an integrated resort in the area. The government spent approximately $3.8 million on marketing the sheer idea of building an IR but has set aside those plans after the Covid-19 pandemic began.
One of the companies that had big plans for building IRs in Japan was Wynn Resorts. However, it had difficulty making its mind where to build an IR, with the initial target being Osaka, which then switched to Kanto. Yokohama was also one of the options, but Wynn eventually closed offices after eight months. Reportedly, Wynn Resorts is now considering bowing out entirely from the Japan IR race, which can make some operators really happy. Another company that also changed its mind last year was Las Vegas Sands.
Now with Wynn out of the way, the competition seems less fierce, and some of the companies that have will have a better chance are Galaxy Entertainment Japan, Genting Singapore, Melco Resorts and Entertainment, Sega Sammy Holding, and SHOTOKU.
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