Wynn Resorts Continues Positive Pursuit of Japan IR Project

In a statement, Wynn Resorts Ltd. has confirmed that it will continue to study other markets in Japan where it can bid for an Integrated Resort development, after announcing its withdrawal from Yokohama.

Wynn Committed to Integrated Resort in Japan

Wynn Resorts Ltd. has confirmed that despite exiting the Yokohama race for an integrated resort (IR) in Japan, the company has not dropped its ambitions to be represented in one of the three upcoming projects in the country.

In a statement on Tuesday, the company confirmed that it has withdrawn its Yokohama bid, but it remained committed to Japan as a whole and was in the process of studying other market entry-points.

“Wynn Resorts continues to closely monitor the integrated-resort situation in Japan and views the country as a strong potential market.”

Wynn Resorts

Further to that, the company argued that its “positive pursuit of an IR development in the country was undiminished,” which matches its status as one of the biggest industry players.

However, Wynn did caution that the lack of post-COVID-19 clarity has made it a little more careful. The company similarly noted that there was no clear-cut national framework for the project at the time to merit a more aggressive move.

Bidding in Yokohama

Yokohama is the country’s second-largest city and one of the front-runners for the first of three integrated resorts, an investment that many have suggested may turn the most profitable opportunity for any gaming business.

The integrated resorts will focus on a multi-layered experience, putting an emphasis on casino gaming, but also featuring numerous other amenities including restaurants, convention centers, and various entertainment options for tourists and gamers.

Yokohama will start accepting bids on Friday and it will continue to do so through May 17, when the last submissions will be processed. Moving forward, the prefecture’s lawmakers will need to decide which partner is the best fit before submitting it to the central government in an attempt to secure an official go-ahead.

Any participant in the integrated resort projects will have to first form a local alliance with a prefecture and then win the approval of the national government. Despite changes in the ruling party and the added difficulty of the pandemic, the government remains committed to seeing the project through.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had to step down, was replaced by another politician committed to the project’s successful realization, Yoshihide Suga.

Delays in Development and Launch Date

While many hope that the first integrated resort may open in 2025, it’s more likely that the casinos won’t be operational before 2026 or 2027, which has dampened investment appetites. However, companies such as Wynn Resorts are far from dropping the idea.

Rather, they are bidding their time and looking to make a strong entry into a promising market, rather than rush things up unnecessarily. For its part, Wynn could potentially look into some of the other prefectures, other than Yokohama, that is looking to secure a license to host the mega-billion project.

Potential picks include Nagasaki, Osaka, and Wakayama. Meanwhile, Osaka seems to have teamed up with MGM Resorts, and a local company. Then, there is Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, another Las Vegas rival, which is reportedly trying to secure a Nagasaki entry.

Even though Wynn Resorts has withdrawn from Yokohama, many companies remain committed, including Galaxy Entertainment, Genting Singapore and Melco Resorts & Entertainment, who are reportedly exploring opportunities to remain present.

Meanwhile, at home, WynnBet has been posting good results. The company’s betting arm, WynnBet, has secured entries into both Ohio and Iowa. In Japan as well as in the United States, Wynn Resorts is far from done with its growth.

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