Yokohama integrated resort bid hits pause

Maria Debrincat 2 years ago
Yokohama integrated resort bid hits pause

Newly-elected mayor Yamanaka Takeharu describes casinos as a ‘poisoned apple’

Following Takeharu Yamanaka’s election as mayor, the city of Yokohama has halted the application process for an integrated resort (IR) in the country. Yamanaka was one of a number of candidates that opposed the IR and had claimed that the IR procedure will be abolished as soon as he became mayor.

Takeharu Yamanaka, the former Yokohama City University professor who won the election last month on an anti-IR platform, said on Friday that Yokohama will no longer participate in the IR bid process, despite the fact that it has been known for some time.

With effect from October 1 Yamanaka, said that the city of Yokohama (pictured) will also be abolishing an office dedicated to supporting the casino project.

takeharu yamanaka
Takeharu Yamanaka, anti-IR activist, elected mayor of Yokohama.

Sega Sammy Holdings Inc, a Japanese entertainment giant, stated that it would withdraw from the plan to construct a casino resort in the city of Yokohama with the city’s plans to host an integrated resort being scrapped (IR). “We have been forced to suspend our participation in the IR business in Yokohama. The impact of this case on the consolidated operating results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, will be minimal.”

As part of a partnership that includes Genting Singapore Ltd, the Japanese company earlier stated that it planned to spend “approximately” JPY120.0 billion (US$1.09 billion) on the construction of a casino resort in Yokohama.

Genting Singapore has also publicly announced the cancellation of its plans to build a casino facility in Yokohama. The firm had previously been recognised as one of two eligible bidders in the city’s request-for-proposal process for an IR.

Genting Singapore’s board stated, “We are surprised and disappointed by the unexpected turn of events leading to the city’s decision to cancel the Yokohama IR Bid, as the board of directors and management of the company, together with our consortium partners and supporting partners have devoted considerable time and our best efforts to prepare and submit a compelling bid and proposed a significant investment that will benefit the city of Yokohama and its community, and at the same time make Yokohama a world-class tourism destination.”

Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, an operator of sites in Macau and the Philippines, had been named as the other candidate in the contest, in addition to Genting Singapore.

Former Mayor Fumiko Hayashi penned Yokohama’s plan to apply for an IR in August 2019, but the topic became divisive and was a key focus of last month’s election, with Yamanaka fiercely opposing such a facility.

Yoshimura earlier said that he did not believe Yamanaka has a chance of winning the Yokohama mayoral election because of his opposition to casinos, as well as the previous mayor’s handling of the epidemic and ongoing worries.

The 48-year-old, who has the formal support of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japan Communist Party, has pledged to put a halt to Yokohama’s IR bid, describing casinos as a “poison apple.”

Yamanaka received 33.59% of the votes, ahead of pre-election favorite Hachiro Okonogi, who received 21.62%, and incumbent mayor Fumiko Hayashi, who received13.06 percent%.

According to a Maybank Research study, this Yokohama integrated resort would have produced around US$7 billion in annual gross gaming revenues, accounting for 60% of total Japanese IR industry GGR and with locals accounting for more than 80%.

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