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Wynn Resorts exits Yokohama resort bid, still interested in Japan

Wynn Resorts Ltd. has taken itself out of a proposal to develop an integrated resort in Yokohama, Japan, but is still looking at other Japanese markets, the company confirmed Tuesday.

Yokohama, Japan’s second largest city, recently launched its request-for-proposal process to become one of three Japanese cities to host a resort that would include casino gambling in addition to entertainment, restaurant and convention amenities according to sources familiar with the process.

Yokohama will begin accepting proposals Friday and has a May 17 deadline for submissions.

Japanese lawmakers, in 2018, approved a plan for three integrated resorts in the country. Prior to the global health crisis, the process was bogged down by a series of delays, prompting some operators to drop out of the bidding.

Since then, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the longest-running prime minister in the country’s history, last year resigned for health reasons.

He has since been replaced by Yoshihide Suga, who, like Abe, supports the development of three integrated resorts across Japan.

Long timeline

While most analysts view Japan as the next great gaming market in the Asia-Pacific region after Macao, the consensus today is that it will be 2026 or 2027 before casinos there are operational. It’s a timeline viewed as unappealing by many operators.

Wynn issued a statement noting the Las Vegas-based company is still interested in landing a license in another Japanese city, but is backing away from Yokohama after closing its small office there last summer.

Osaka, Nagasaki, Wakayama and Yokohama have affirmed interest in hosting a resort with Tokyo considering a bid as well. Osaka is partnering with MGM Resorts International and Japan’s Orix on its proposal.

Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which recently became licensed in Nevada to oversee the soon-to-open Virgin Hotels Las Vegas property, is working with Oshidori International Development GK on a Nagasaki bid.

Asian hospitality companies Galaxy Entertainment, Genting Singapore and Melco Resorts & Entertainment reportedly continue to have an interest in Yokohama.

Potential market

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

“While Wynn’s positive pursuit of an IR development in the country is undiminished, it will not be participating in the upcoming request-for-proposal process by the City of Yokohama, because there is not yet clarity regarding the post-COVID-19 international IR market nor the definitive national basic policy to meaningfully update our previously submitted plans and to complete, with the necessary detail, the documents published by the city,” the company said.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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