The government of Yokohama believes that the city should get an IR casino. While some of its businesses, as well as residents, oppose this, the city itself will focus on getting the casino bid. The local government said that it is ready to enter the bidding war for an IR license from the central government of Japan.
This should take place sometime in 2020. Now, Yokohama is officially one of the big contenders for the license. There will be three of those in the first round of licensing. Right now, Nagasaki, Wakayama, and Osaka are the other big players in the IR license game. Fumiko Hayashi, Yokohama mayor, is apparently close to announcing the city as a contender during this week.
With over 3.7 million residents and Yamashita Wharf as a potential casino site, it is definitely in the big leagues. The portside spot measures 116 aces and it lies near the Yamashita Park. This park is already an established tourist destination.
Earlier in 2019, the city created a study based on input from 12 casino operators about the viability of an IR facility. The results show that Yokohama could take in about $1.6 billion in revenue annually. That is why the local assembly should approve the expenditure of $2.4 million for securing the bid with the central government. However, there will be plenty of opposition.
Historically, the residents and an array of organizations and parties have opposed even small developments. The same groups now claim that the casino will bring in crime as well as gambling addiction to the region. There are no credible studies that confirm this as a possibility, but the local residential support for the opposition is there.
But, many believe that it will ultimately be unsuccessful. Japan’s government took years of detailed research of the casino industry to define its IR policy. It too went through a rigorous check-up from all interested parties and had an uphill battle in the legislative circles. Yet, the government of Shinzo Abe made it work in the end.
Now, cities like Yokohama can choose between being left behind or going for the big prize. Also, the overall economic benefits, in the current Japanese financial state of most cities and prefectures, are the ultimate argument. In the end, the voters will predominantly react to the success or failure of the economy. IR casino projects are now a big part of all future economic plans.
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