In a surprising announcement, Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) communicated its intentions to abandon plans for the development of an integrated complex in the city of Osaka as planned, while stating that for now its IR efforts in Japan will be directed to Tokyo and Yokohama.
The resignation of the casino operator, coincided with the announcement of the mayor of Yokohama, Fumiko Hayashi, on the purpose of the city to submit an offer for one of the three integrated resort licenses that will be issued by the national government in 2020.
After completing his medical rest, the president and CEO of Sands, Sheldon Adelson, announced through a statement that “an investment in Tokyo or Yokohama gives us the best opportunity” with the aim of boosting organic growth and favoring shareholders of Sands.
“During the last years, we have started a conversation with the Osaka government about the possibility of building a world-class Integrated Resort there,”
said Sands who made efforts last week to try to reach an agreement with the Osaka authorities.
In the limited list of Osaka casino operators, LVS was considered one of the five main applicants. “We thank the people and the government there for their professionalism and wish them much success with Expo 2025 and the other initiatives they have planned,” Adelson added the press release.
Adelson, who received medical treatment when his non-Hodgkin lymphoma was detected and was self-imposed medical seclusion while recovering, made the announcement only hours after the city of Yokohama confirmed his aspiration to obtain one of the integrated resort licenses.
Yokohama Mayor Fumiko Hayashi, who had previously described the city as a “blank board” in relation to casinos, due to opposition from residents, said Thursday that it was necessary to have an “integrated tourist complex” to advance.
The announcement of Las Vegas Sands was joined by Lawrence Ho, the CEO of Melco Resorts & Entertainment, who referred to Yokohama as
“an extremely attractive site” for the installation of an integrated complex, due to its “location, communication links, vitality and pioneer spirit.”
Yokohama, is the second largest city in Japan and together with the popular Wakayama, Osaka and Nagasaki, has publicly stated its plans to develop an integrated tourist complex. Other very important cities like Tokyo and Hokkaido, have also done so but with greater reserve.
The withdrawal of IR plans from LVS in Osaka leaves the way open to MGM Resorts as a favorite to undertake its “Osaka First” policy.