Melco Resorts announces “Yokohama First” policy for Japan IR bid, withdraws from Osaka race

Inside Asian Gaming is a partner of CDC Gaming Asia and this content appears under that editorial sharing agreement.

Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd has announced a “Yokohama First” policy that will see the Asian integrated resort operator focus all of its Japan IR bid efforts on the city of Yokohama.

The move, which echoes MGM Resorts’ own Osaka First policy, comes four weeks after mayor Fumiko Hayashi confirmed Yokohama’s candidacy as a location city for one of Japan’s first IRs in order to bolster the economy.

“’Yokohama First’ means that the incredible team of experts and talents we have assembled will focus on bringing to Yokohama the best IR the world has ever seen,” said Melco Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho.

“Our team is well-positioned to contribute to Yokohama’s future and to support the community in its ambition to become a global tourism destination. This is a commitment to the city, our partners and the community there.”

Despite unveiling a concept plan for an Osaka integrated resort as recently as May, Melco has more recently hinted at its strong interest in Yokohama including a long-term sponsorship with J1 League football team Yokohama F Marinos. It also announced plans earlier this month to open a new Yokohama office.

The company said its decision to declare a “Yokohama First” policy means it will not proceed further with Osaka’s RFC process.

“I would like to thank the city of Osaka for their consideration and for constructive dialogues that we have had with them,” Ho said. “They demonstrated a very professional approach in their commitment to build an IR in Yumeshima. I would like to personally thank the Osaka government for the collaborative discussions we had with them over the years.”