Melco Resorts & Entertainment announced on Wednesday that it would focus its IR campaign on Yokohama and that it was suspending its participation in bidding for the Osaka Yumeshima location.
Chairman and CEO Lawrence Ho stated, “‘Yokohama First’ is a plan that gathers a top-notch team of experts to focus on creating an IR in Yokohama city the likes of which the world has never seen. We are well prepared to carry out activities contributing to the future of Yokohama and to push forward the further development of the city as an international tourist destination. Melco is a suitable partner for Yokohama and its surrounding areas.”
The statement thanked Osaka for the dialogue up to this point, but made clear that there would be no Melco bid for Yumeshima.
Melco’s action follows a similar move by Las Vegas Sands last month, which also indicated that it gave up its Osaka bid. In Sands’ case, however, it said its was aiming for “Tokyo or Yokohama.”
The abandonment of Osaka by two major IR operators in rapid succession may be in part motivated by a sense that MGM’s position there may be unassailable, or there may be other factors that are not yet fully apparent.
Singapore police have busted at least two illegal gambling operations in the past week, while across Asia authorities have moved to stamp out illicit activities, from raids on premier league matches in India, to illegal number forecasting in Malaysia.