Wynn Resorts Ltd has confirmed that it remains interested in acquiring an operating license for an integrated casino resort in Japan. The casino company further explained that it does not intend to participate in the newly-unveiled request-for-proposal (RFO) phase of the casino application process in Yokohama.
The US casino operator said in a statement that it continues to closely monitor the situation with the so-called integrated casino resorts (IRs) in Japan as it believes the country would be a strong potential market for further expansion.
The second-biggest city in Japan, Yokohama, recently opened its request-for-proposal process as part of its efforts to become one of the three owners of a casino operating license. The country’s Government has previously revealed that it would grant three integrated casino resort licenses as part of the first phase of its gambling market liberalization. The IRs are large and luxurious complexes that would offer casino gambling along with hospitality, convention, dining and other entertainment options.
The US-based casino giant already has an Asian presence as it holds a Macau casino license through its subsidiary Wynn Macau Ltd. It has been willing to expand its Asian assets even further by establishing itself in Japan.
Uncertainties Related to Covid-19 Crisis Affected Wynn Resort’s Decision to Back Off from Yokohama
Previously, Wynn Resorts has said that Yokohama was considered as a possible expansion option for it in Japan.
However, in August 2020, the operator’s chief executive officer Matt Maddox said that the casino company was “pretty much ceasing” its efforts for expansion in Japan after referring to the coronavirus pandemic and its negative effect on the business. At the time, Mr. Maddox shared that backing off does not mean Wynn Resorts is no longer interested in the Japanese market as an expansion target, it just means that the country was not a focus for the company for the moment.
In its latest update on Japan, Wynn Resorts referred to the next phase of Yokohama’s pursuit of hosting an integrated casino resort, saying that it remains positive of an IR development in the country but it will not take part in the upcoming RFP process unveiled by the city. The gambling operator highlighted that the lack of post-coronavirus international IR market insights made it impossible for Wynn Resorts to update its previously-submitted plans for further expansion and make a step forward with filing the application documents.
The coronavirus pandemic resulted in a significant 9-month delay in the schedule under which the Japanese Government will start accepting application documents from the local governments that are willing to become home to a casino resort. As it was revealed by Yokohama authorities, the city plans to unveil its offer for an integrated casino resort to the national Government in April 2022.