Las Vegas Sands’ Managing Director for Global Development George Tanasijevich has offered the clearest statement yet that his firm is now following MGM Resorts in pursuing an “Osaka First” strategy.
Tanasijevich noted that in Yokohama public opinion polls show clearly that there is not sufficient support for an IR bid, and for its part Tokyo is likely to be consumed by its 2020 Olympics preparations. “At this point there doesn’t appear to be any chance in either location,” he was quoted as saying.
In contrast stands the local government of Osaka, which has been very clear about the kind of IR that it is seeking, and has been proactive in establishing its own policies.
Tanasijevich made these comments in an interview with the rightwing Sankei Shinbun, which appears to have become Sands’ main Japanese media outlet to make such major announcements.
With its presumed high-level political connections and strong information network, Sands’ apparent abandonment of Yokohama and Tokyo indicates that it is unlikely that these local governments have any surprise in store, as some observers have suspected. Sands’ current calculation is that the three locations to receive an IR license in the first round will be Osaka and two regional markets.
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.