Yokohama Allocates More Staff To Coordinate Its IR Bid

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Yokohama city, one of the strong contenders to host an integrated casino-type resort /IR/ in Japan, has announced it is pushing up the number of employees coordinating the efforts, as the media GGRAsia reports. Effective April 1, the IR promotion office, under the Urban Development Bureau of the metropolis, is about to increase its staff from 25 to 39 people.

Money And Human Resources

The decision to increase the supporting personnel for winning one of the first three integrated resorts slots in Japan, follows shortly after the city council voted to allocate around $3.6 million for the metropolis’ IR effort in its 2020 financial budget and shows Yokohama officials are determined to walk the extra mile in getting its desired casino-type complex.

Back in August 2019, Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi announced the city will compete for one of the three slots available for an integrated resort license, making it the first to declare an interest in the National Capital region that includes Tokyo and represents a potential of more than 40 million residents, nearly one third of all population in the country.

Yokohama is the capital of Kanagawa Prefecture and is only a short ride away from Japan’s busiest Haneda Airport. The city is commutable by train and road from 9.4 million-populated Tokyo, but even if it would not attract customers from the capital, the Yokohama area itself presents a reasonable market size to support high-end entertainment events, and an IR built there can generate an estimated $8.3 billion.

Yokohama Huge Potential Lures The Biggest

Needless to say, that potential attracted the biggest players in the industry, including Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands /LVS/, Lawrence Ho’s Melco Resorts and Malaysian-based casino operator Genting Singapore. Galaxy Entertainment, MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts were also in the initial group of 22 gaming operators that declared interest to become Yokohama’s private sector partner and build the IR resort, if the city wins one of the available slots.

Earlier this month, a draft IR implementation policy was announced, looking for public consultation regarding finalizing the policy in June, after which the city will launch a request-for-proposal /RFP/ process to be able to evaluate each candidate’s bid to become its partner in the project.

Osaka Announced Delays

Another city that is a contender to host an integrated casino resort, Osaka, has recently informed of possible delay to its RFP process by three months. After initially showing interest in Osaka, both Genting Singapore and Galaxy Entertainment have withdrawn from the race and turned their focus to Yokohama. The only candidate remaining that looks set to be the winner, MGM Resorts, also informed the public of possible delay of its own regarding plans to develop the IR project in the city.

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