Las Vegas Sands is no longer interested in developing a casino resort in Osaka and has instead focused its attention on exploring development opportunities in Tokyo and Yokohama, the company’s CEO and Chairman, Sheldon Adelson, said in a statement from earlier today.
Las Vegas Sands is looking to extend its regional presence as Japan is set to launch the location selection and licensing stages of its casino legalization process that will pave the way for the development of up to three integrated resorts with dedicated gaming areas.
The Las Vegas gaming and hospitality giant, whose Asian operations currently include integrated resorts in Macau and Singapore, previously planned to bid for a license for the construction and operation of a casino complex in Osaka.
The city envisions a massive integrated resort on the artificial Yumeshima Island, which will also host World Expo 2025. Many believe that Osaka is the frontrunner in the casino race and will be the host of the nation’s first casino resort.
Some of the world’s largest hotel and casino operators are eyeing development opportunities in the city, including MGM Resorts International and Melco Resorts & Entertainment. As mentioned, above, Las Vegas Sands, too, pursued actively expansion opportunities in Osaka, but its sights are now set on different cities.
Of their decision to abandon their Osaka expansion pursuit, Mr. Adelson said today that “for the past several years, we have engaged in a conversation with the Osaka government regarding the possibility of building a world-class Integrated Resort there. We thank the people and government there for their professionalism and wish them much success with Expo 2025 and the other initiatives they have planned.”
The businessman added that his company targets “new development opportunities that allow us to maintain our industry-leading returns on invested capital and we think an investment in Tokyo or Yokohama gives us the best opportunity to do exactly that.”
Yokohama Enters the Race
Las Vegas Sands is directing its attention toward Yokohama as the city officially announced that it would be bidding for the right to host one of Japan’s first three integrated resorts with dedicated casino areas.
During a press conference held earlier today, the Mayor of Japan’s second largest city, Fumiko Hayashi, said that they “must look to Yokohama’s future, the 20 to 30 year ahead” and that she has come to the conclusion that in order to “achieve growth and development, we need an IR.”
If it wins the right to host one of Japan’s first integrated resorts, Yokohama plans to build the property at Yamashita Wharf, which is located next to popular tourist hub Yamashita Park. The complex is expected to open doors in the mid- to late-2020s, city officials said today.
Yokohama held earlier this year a request for information process to identify companies that might be interest in building a casino resort in the city. City officials pointed out at the time that the process did not guarantee that Yokohama would participate in the casino race. As many as 12 companies said that they would be interested in exploring development opportunities in the city, with some of those being Caesars Entertainment Corp., Melco, MGM, and Wynn Resorts.
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