The city of Yokohama published its IR facility implementation policy on Thursday, kick-starting the process to recruit an operator.
The application period for accepting recruitment participation examination documents starts on Friday 5 February and concludes Monday 17 May, followed by a period for documents to be examined between Tuesday 1 June and Friday 11 June 2021. An operator will then be selected sometime in the summer.
Once an operator has been selected, a development plan will be formulated and public hearings will be held from fall until winter. The city council is scheduled to vote by 22 March 2022 and an application will be made to the central government by April. If Yokohama receives certification from the government, the city intends to open the facility in the latter half of this decade.
Yokohama’s RFP schedule is notably different from other candidate locations in how long it has provided for operators to make a decision – almost four months from now up to 17 May. No reason was offered for such a lengthy period although IAG has been informed it may be to give the likes of Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts an opportunity to return to the market after both withdrew last year. It also allows any company currently holding out for Tokyo to join the race time to choose Yokohama instead should Japan’s capital city opt out.
In a statement, the city said it aimed to achieve the highest international standard for its IR, making Yokohama a global destination.
“Along with conveying the attractions of tourism in Japan to the world, Yokohama will become a gateway to Japan for inbound visitors from across the world, as we will be their landing point for attractive tourist locations across Japan,” it said.
“Through this project, we will contribute to Japan’s growth strategy, which aims to bring in 60 million foreign visitors and JPY 1.5 trillion (US$14.5 billion) in foreigner consumption in 2030, contributing to Japan’s sustainable growth.”
Under Yokohama’s RFP, operators will be asked to create landscape designs, a smart city and sustainable streets, along with implementing disaster prevention measures, public health measures, development of the surrounding areas, infrastructure development, tourism and economic revitalization.
With regards to tourism and economic revitalization, it is clearly stated that efforts will be made to “maximize the economic and social effects occurring through establishment and operation of an IR facility to restore the city.”
There is also one slightly unusual requirement contained within Yokohama’s public tender requirements with documents stating the casino should have, “an elegant interior and should be a place for social gathering for adults with dress codes that provide extraordinary experiences, and have a clean and high-class feel.”
Yokohama City first announced that it would bid for an IR in 2019. Seven companies participated in the request for concept (RFC) in the same year, among them Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment Japan, Genting Singapore Limited, Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited, Sega Sammy Holdings and Shotoku. LVS withdrew last May citing restrictive regulations while Wynn closed its Yokohama office to focus on its US and Macau operations amid COVID-19.