Japan is still in the process of selecting casino operators and places where three giant integrated resorts are going to be built. The entire procedure took more than originally planned, and it seems that opposition to the project has been pretty loud lately. One of the places that were selected for building an IR was Yokohama.
It was only a week after a public hearing took place in Yokohama where the possibility of an IR was discussed that the opposition started becoming active in their goal to put a stop to building and IR in this city. Yokohama is the second largest city in Japan, and it would be a perfect opportunity for one of the three IRs, and casino operators are very interested in investing in the project, should Yokohama gets selected. All local politicians actually support the idea of having such a venue in their home city as it would bring additional jobs, more revenue streams, and other huge benefits.
The Public Opinion
However, politicians and other officials seem to be the minority in Yokohama. Last August, there was a poll where 90% of the locals firmly stated that they oppose the idea of having a gambling hub in Yokohama. They are supported by certain trade groups that decided to step up and increase their efforts so as to keep an IR out of the boundaries of Yokohama.
The two most vocal groups are the Yokohama Transport Association and The Yokohama Harbor Resort Association. They actually create very strong pressure on the Mayor of Yokohama Fumiko Hayashi so as to convince him to back off the plans of Yokohama being home to an IR. The two groups wrote an open letter to the Mayor, stating that it would be unacceptable to go against the will of the vast majority of the residents, and proceed with building and operating an IR in Yokohama, according to this article.
All the trade groups that oppose the idea of having an IR in their city believe that Yamashita Bay would be a much more suitable spot for such a venue. Moreover, they state that it would be a much better idea if they built an auto racing track, which they believe would attract more tourists and business travelers. They want the racing track to be one of the places where F1 races would take place.
Another thing that the trade groups would like to see in the city instead of a gambling house is a family-friendly resort that would be built by the Walt Disney Co. They believe that such a non-gambling venue would be a much better option than a casino and that it could bring approximately $18.7 billion in revenue every year.
Therefore, Yokohama is a nice place to build an IR, but it seems that the locals don’t really want it. Nevertheless, if the city is not selected for the initial three licenses, it will still be on the list, should the Japanese regulators decide to grant additional licenses.
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