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Integrated Resorts in Japan—A Clearer Picture

Ryan Knuppel

Integrated Resorts in Japan—A Clearer PictureThe entire gambling industry has been focused on integrated resorts that are planned in Japan, and it seemed that the government of this country just wanted to prolong making some decisions, mainly those about casino operators and cities where resorts would be built.

However, it seems that they know what they are doing and that taking it slow is the way they want to play this game. It seems that patience is indeed a virtue in this case, as many things seem to work out by themselves, without interference from the Japanese officials.

Melco Resorts & Entertainment is pretty much in a romantic relationship with the Yokohama prefecture, and they plan to make their relationship official as soon as possible. In fact, Melco will officially open an office in Yokohama in November and will sign an agreement focusing on a potential IR. They are already making plans with the local government about building a resort in Yamashita Wharf.

The previous focus of Melco was Osaka, but the company suddenly changed its focus and immediately quit pursuing opportunities in this area, assuming the “Yokohama First” strategy. The CEO of Melco, Lawrence Ho, made a snap decision about changing the way they want to work in Japan and changing the area they want to focus on.

Hokkaido’s in the Game

The northern part of Japan is not neglected when it comes to selecting an ideal IR area. In fact, Hokkaido could become home to an IR, and the company that is very interested in building and developing one such facility is Rush Street Japan, a subsidiary of the US company Rush Street Gaming. They have already selected two Japanese firms which focus on architecture and design in order to envision the IR.

The two companies they decided to work with are Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (architecture) and Takano Landscape Planning (TLP). The two companies have extensive experience in building various hotel buildings around the globe. One of the most important projects by SOM is the iconic Burj Khalifa. Moreover, they also designed the One World Trade Center in New York.

Rush Street is already very excited about working with these companies, saying that both of them are known for “their commitment to innovation and sustainability.” The company officials believe that, by choosing to work with TLP and SOM, they are already one step ahead of the competition, hoping to receive a license for building an IR in Japan.

One of the areas in the south of Japan, Wakayama, wants to welcome an IR with arms wide open. They prepared everything in the city as the Assembly of that prefecture decided to actively promote it as ideal for building an integrated resort.

Marina City would be a host of the IR if all goes well, and Wakayama receives approval and a license for the project. They already partnered up with Bloomberry Resorts, Suncity Group and Barriere — companies that would be potential casino partners for the IR.

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