The deputy chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, Francis Lui, said that he welcomes more competition between cities in Japan, following the mayor of Yokohama’s announcement that his city would bid to host a casino. The executive said that the gaming operator was continuing to study the candidate cities in a bid to develop a global landmark integrated resort (IR), the Macau Daily Times reported.

GEG confirmed that it hopes to collaborate with Monaco’s Société des Bains de Mer et du Cercle des Étrangers à Monaco and Japanese partners to bid for a Japanese licence.

“We are encouraged to see that in recent weeks more cities are considering entering the race for an integrated resort,” Lui told GGRAsia. “Competition is always good for business, as it will be for the IR process in Japan. It will ensure Japan gets the most impressive and innovative IRs ever built.”

Yokohama is now one of the potential cities in Japan in the race to host a casino resort, amongst Osaka, Nagasaki and Wakayama. Back-to-back announcements from international gaming operators last week marked the latest steps in a delicate dance between cities seeking to host casino resorts and operators looking to bid on the locations. A maximum of three locations will be allowed under a law passed last year.

All six of Macau’s gaming operators have expressed an interest in bidding for a Japanese licence. The Japanese government passed a bill in 2018 that laid out a roadmap for gaming. The goal was to open the first casino by the time Tokyo hosted the 2020 Summer Olympics, however disagreement over regulations and public concern over compulsive gambling pushed the plans back. These cities need to find partners in the private sector first, before applying to the national government for the right to have such facilities.

PHOTO: Galaxy is owned by Lui Che-woo, the second-richest man in Hong Kong