Yokohama mayor Fumiko Hayashi has stated her belief that the global COVID-19 pandemic was behind the decision by Las Vegas Sands to withdraw from Japan’s IR race, stating at a press conference on Wednesday, “I am not particularly surprised.”
While LVS Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson suggested in the company’s shock announcement on Wednesday that restrictive regulatory requirements were the primary reason for the withdrawal, Mayor Hayashi commented, “I believe they had to consider the investment timing amidst a difficult global economic situation (due to the COVID-19 pandemic).”
An official at Yokohama’s IR Promotion Division told Inside Asian Gaming, “LVS was among the operators who participated in the RFC stage, but as we have not yet reached the RFP (Request for Proposal), we do not know yet who will have serious proposals for a Yokohama facility.”
By June, Yokohama will have compiled public feedback collected between March and April this year and will have compiled its IR Direction draft, Implementation Policy draft and Application Guidelines Outline draft.
In August, it will publish the results of public feedback, and the final guidelines for its Yokohama’s IR Direction, Implementation Policy and Application Guidelines Outline.
From there, the RFP process will finally get started. The official commented there would be no further change to this schedule.