The race for the first integrated resort (IR) casino continues amid speculation over which Japanese city will host the first IR. Hong Kong casino developer Melco has dropped Osaka casino plans in favor of a “Yokohama First” strategy.
Several Japanese cities are wooing large casino companies in hopes of the major economic boost that comes with the gambling industry. Yokohama was a late arrival in the IR competition, as local controversy stalled the licensing process.
The IR Race Is On
Since Yokohama announced its desire to host an IR casino property, 12 companies have joined the bidding process. Melco is not the first company to drop Osaka from the list of potential casino cities. Osaka lost the attention of Las Vegas Sands (LVS) last month when the casino group shifted focus to Yokohama as well. Tokyo and Yokohama are Japan’s 2 largest cities, which makes them prime targets for casino development.
LVS and Melco are both heavyweight contenders in the casino world, so the heat is on to see which giant will remain standing in the Yokohama ring. In the meantime, Melco has doubled down on their commitment to an IR in Yokohama by opening an office in the city.
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