City of Yokohama Holds IR Talks Part of RFI Phase

Yokohama suggestedas cheaper IR destinationsThe city mayorbacks the ideaStrong localopposition persists

TheJapanese City of Yokohama is one of the newest destinations where acasino resort may be built in the country.

Yokohama Explores IR Prospects

Japancontinues to study and explore options for the upcoming IntegratedResort (IR) initiative that will see the country host a number ofgaming hubs on its territory. Estimated 400 people gathered in theCity of Yokoh 7BALL CX ama with members of the press and industryleaders in attendance.

This was part of the Request-for-Information (RFI) phase, which is designed to help the public and lawmakers make a decision as to where the new Integrated Resort should be built and what the implications are.

Themeetings were held from Tuesdayto Wednesdayand they reunited both people who were in favor of introducing an IRproject and those who were against it. FumikoHayashi, Mayor of Yokohama, has been pushingfor more public support before deciding in favor of a casino project.

Ms. Hayashiis a successful business woman and entrepreneur in Japan, which givesher clout both as a politician and a skilled investor. Sheserved as CEOof The Daiei Inc,one of the largest supermarket chains in Japan.

Despite herpolitical affinity with the opposition, Ms. Hayashi has seen enoughreasons to support the Integrated Resortplan proposed by the ruling party of Prime Minister ShinzoAbe. The planenvisages three resort properties to be opened on the territory ofthe country, hence Yokohama is exploring prospects to be one of thesaid venues.

Yokohama Has a SlightAdvantage

Yokohama has not only the business mettle of itsmayor to rely on. The city is also given s one of the cheapestdestinations for building the resort. The initial investment estimateis $12 billion, which is low by the standards of the project.

Yet other prefectures have been more vociferous,includingOsaka which is shaping up as the host of the first multi-billionvenue.

The window in which decisions should be made isnarrowing down quickly. While Osaka is still the favorite, aninternal strife between competing destinations could introduce delaysthat are unwelcome for the well-being of the project. Japan wants toconclude construction work by 2025, on time for the World Expo.

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The project has been called a “calculated risk” by observers, mostly because the project will be going up against other regional gaming hubs.

Unlike Macau, though, Japan is probably going tomarket itself as a well-rounded gaming destination in Asia, similarto Las Vegas. The high-rollers and VIP segments will still be verymuch important, but not essential for the existence of the resort.