According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the move from the Hong Kong-headquartered operator comes after the Honshu community last month elected a new mayor that is vehemently opposed to gambling. The source detailed that this figure, Takeharu Yamanaka (pictured), used an official Friday address to assert that he is to pull the plug on a plan that was to have seen the metropolis bid for the right to bring a Las Vegas-style development featuring multiple hotels and restaurants, an exhibition center and a large casino to a 116-acre waterfront parcel of land near Yamashita Park.
Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited is already responsible for Macau’s impressive City of Dreams Macau, Studio City Macau and Altira Macau venues as well as gambling-friendly facilities in Cyprus and the Philippines. The Nasdaq-listed firm had reportedly been hoping to best rival Genting Singapore Limited in being named as the preferred operating partner for Yokohama’s tilt at obtaining one of the three 40-year casino licenses being made available by Japan’s federal government.
However, the election of Yamanaka on August 22 reportedly completely crushed any hopes that Yokohama, which is home to some 3.8 people, would one day play host to such a gambling-friendly development. The 48-year-old independent bested three-term incumbent Fumiko Hayashi with help from the Constitutional Democratic Party, Communist Party of Japan and the Social Democratic Party and is now purportedly intent on closing down the office that was handling the city’s bid from the first day of October.
Lawrence Ho Yau Lung serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited and he reportedly used an official filing to express disappointment regarding a Yokohama decision that ‘officially closed the door on the process we engaged in with our partners’. The boss furthermore purportedly proclaimed that his firm had hoped to build ‘a superlative and world-class’ integrated casino resort that would have reflected ‘the unique characteristics and culture of Yokohama’ and helped to ‘put the city on the global stage of tourism’.
Ho reportedly went on to proclaim that Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited is ‘grateful for the friendships’ it formed in Yokohama before thanking ‘the people and government of Yokohama as well as our business and community partners’ for their support. The 45-year-old casino boss then purportedly finished by asserting that his company now intends to look for similar opportunities in other areas of Japan although the success of such a prospect looks highly unlikely owing to the upcoming July cut-off date for official submissions.
Reportedly read a statement from Ho…
“Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited has been working on the ground in Japan for over a decade. We firmly believe in the long-term potential of the country and remain committed to developing the world’s best integrated resort in Japan. We will be closing our Yokohama office while maintaining a representative office in Tokyo.”