Melco announces “Yokohama First” after abandoning Osaka project
A committee of the Yokohama City Council has approved an amended budget including expenses for IR development, and the full chamber is expected to enact the revised budget tomorrow Friday 20.
The 260 million yen (US$2.4 million) in IR-related expenses was passed with the support of the caucuses of the Liberal Democratic Party and Independents Association as well as Komeito, and over the strong objection of the other caucuses, which denounced the move as contrary to the democratic spirit.
Although polling shows that IR development remains deeply unpopular in Yokohama, Mayor Fumiko Hayashi and her conservative allies have indicated in recent weeks that they intend to push it through come what may.
Melco Resorts & Entertainment announced yesterday that it would focus its IR campaign on Yokohama and that it was suspending its participation in bidding for the Osaka Yumeshima location.
Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho stated, “‘Yokohama First’ is a plan that gathers a top-notch team of experts to focus on creating an IR in Yokohama city the likes of which the world has never seen. We are well prepared to carry out activities contributing to the future of Yokohama and to push forward the further development of the city as an international tourist destination. Melco is a suitable partner for Yokohama and its surrounding areas.”
Melco’s action follows a similar move by Las Vegas Sands last month. The abandonment of Osaka by two major IR operators in rapid succession may be in part motivated by a sense that MGM’s position there may be unassailable, or there may be other factors that are not yet fully apparent.