Yokohama: Melco and Genting confirmed as only IR contenders

There were originally five companies interested in developing an IR in Yokohama.
There were originally five companies interested in developing an IR in Yokohama.

The city of Yokohama has confirmed only two companies remain in the process to select a private partner for its IR bid.

Japan.- The city of Yokohama has confirmed that only two companies – Melco and Genting – have passed to the final stage of its tender to select an IR partner.

Galaxy Entertainment was the first company to drop out. It claimed the business climate had been “exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Sega Sammy then said it would seek a minority stake in the development. It said the law related to IR developments as a major concern as doubts remain throughout agreements.

As for the other remaining contender, Shotoku, the Yokohama city government said its bid was below minimum requirements so authorities dismissed its application.

That leaves Genting Singapore and Melco Resorts as the only IR contenders to reach the final stage for Yokohama’s IR bid.

A few weeks ago, Maybank Research said it believes that Genting Singapore is well-positioned to win Yokohama’s IR bid.

According to analysts, Yokohama’s planned IR development could generate a gross gaming revenue (GGR) of nearly US$7bn a year and US$2.7bn in net profit.

However, the development of a resort could depend on the results of the upcoming mayoral election on Sunday, August 22.

Yokohama mayoral elections could define future of IR development

90-year-old Yukio Fujiki, chairman of the Yokohama Port Harbor Resort Association and a strong opponent against the development of an IR has launched an organisation called “Yokohama Future Concept Conference”.

At an inaugural conference, Fujiki criticised Japan’s pro-IR Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, saying he had betrayed people through the IR initiative.

Another anti-IR group, the Kanagawa Citizens Ombudsman, wants to launch a lawsuit to stop a potential IR development. It says that the proposed Yamashita Wharf location should not be leased to an IR operator.

It argues that the IR development would harm public welfare and wants an audit of the location.

There are currently two independent anti-IR candidates who have launched their respective campaigns.

Masataka Ota is a member of the Constitutional Democratic Party who has expressed his stance against Yokohama participating in a bid for an integrated resort licence.

Then there’s Akiko Fujimura, the representative director of an animal welfare group, who has stated that if she wins the election, she will order the immediate cancellation of the city’s IR project.

As for pro-IR Yokohama mayor Fumiko Hayashi, she has not clarified whether she will run for a fourth term.

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Genting Singapore Melco Resorts