Wynn Resorts has closed its Yokohama office in what the company describes as a reconsidering of its global operational strategy.
The company, which had previously ended its pursuit of an IR in Osaka to focus its energies on Yokohama, issued a statement in which it pointed to the negative impact of COVID-19 on IR operators around the world. However, contacted by Inside Asian Gaming for confirmation, Wynn insisted it is “not withdrawing from Japan,” adding, “We continue to be interested in the Japan market and IR development there.”
In a statement published by Bloomberg, the company said, “The pandemic is having an unprecedented negative impact on integrated resort development, and resort companies such as Wynn are considering how we evolve our operations to align with a post-pandemic market.
“Long term, we remain interested in the Japan integrated resort market and will monitor the situation closely.”
News of Wynn’s Yokohama office closure comes after Las Vegas Sands announced its withdrawal from Japan altogether in May, with Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson claiming the framework around the development of an IR had made the company’s goals “unreachable.”
MGM Resorts, the sole remaining candidate to develop an IR in Osaka, confirmed last week that it still intends to pursue its Japan bid but warned it could pull out if it deems the potential return on investment no longer attractive.
“We will only make this investment if we think it’s going to be prudent, if we think it’s going to pay the kind of returns that we need to meet our expectations,“ said MGM President and CEO Bill Hornbuckle during the company’s 2Q20 earnings call.
“There is a long way to go. We love where we’re sitting, we love the opportunity in Osaka, we love our partner in ORIX.
“We also like that we are not fully ‘all-in’ on this investment and we like the fact that there is probably going to be a delay and a reopening of some of the conversations that will hopefully make this a better investment for anyone that is interested in it, most notably us.”
The closure of Wynn Resorts’ office in Yokohama is not unexpected. From February 2018, Wynn Resorts rightfully spent around two years focused on managing the fallout from the departure of the company’s charismatic founder, Steve Wynn.
Likely for this reason, Wynn Resorts has never seemed quite as fully engaged in the Japan IR process as some of its competitors, such as Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment or Melco Resorts. While the company has left the door open for entry into Japan, it would not be at all surprising to see Wynn Resorts completely abandon the Japan process for the foreseeable future.
Wynn Resorts is due to announce its 2Q20 earnings this Wednesday morning (Asia time).