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Wynn Resorts to Pursue Japanese Integrated Resorts License

The casino operator Wynn Resort (NASDAQ: WYNN) has denied reports that it is pulling out of the Japanese Integrated Resort (IR) competition.

In a statement, the company said that it is continuing to “closely monitor” the situation in Japan and that it still views the country as a “strong potential market.” The statement was released after the company withdrew from the race to open an IR in the Yokohama region.

The pandemic affects to the international market

According to Wynn Resorts, there are too many issues with Yokohama. They cited a lack of clarity “regarding the post-COVID-19 international IR market” and the lack of a “definitive national basic policy” that would enable the company to update its previously submitted plans in sufficient detail.

Yokohama has not abandoned the plans for an IR. However, there is immense public pressure against them, which could force the mayor’s hand or simply put off those interested in an IR license, as has been the case with Wynn Resorts.

While Wynn insists that it is not abandoning Japan, in the recent past, Wynn’s chief executive Matt Maddox said, “We decided that until there’s more clarity on what the business is going to look like, what the world is going to look like, and what the regulations really are over there, we’re pretty much ceasing our efforts.”


Osaka’s bid looks to be secured by MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM), while Mohegan Gaming is looking at Nagasaki, which means that Wynn’s options are fairly limited. At present, Suncity Group Holdings (HKG: 1383) and Clairvest Neem Ventures are the only parties interested in Wakayama, which makes it the most obvious choice for the company.

On a related note, there have been reports that Groupe Barrière are withdrawing from the competition to secure an IR license in Wakayama. The operator did not respond to Wakayama’s Request for Proposal (RFP) process, and it is not expected to submit any plans for Nagasaki’s. This is most likely because the operator is struggling financially after its casinos closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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