Las Vegas Sands, one of the biggest names in the casino industry in the USA, has suddenly withdrawn from securing one of Japan’s Integrated Resorts (IR) licenses. According to the operator, the regulatory framework in place proved that the project was not viable.
Sheldon Adelson, Sands chief executive, said he admired Japan’s strength as a tourism destination, and that he had always wanted his business to have the chance to develop property there.
“And while my positive feelings for Japan are undiminished, and I believe the country would benefit from the business and leisure tourism generated by an Integrated Resort, the framework around the development of an IR has made our goals there unreachable,” he explained.
“We are grateful for all of the friendships we have formed and the strong relationships we have in Japan, but it is time for our company to focus on our energy on other opportunities,” he added.
Adelso also said that he was “extremely bullish” about Sands and its growth projects, adding that investment in Singapore and Macau would give more meaningful growth from its existing portfolio.
“We also believe the success of the MICE-based Integrated Resort Model we pioneered in Las Vegas, Macau, and Singapore will ultimately be considered by other Asian countries, particularly as governments look to increase leisure and business tourism as a driver of economic growth,” he added.
The Japanese government has given local authorities in the country until July to submit applications to host one of the three IR sites. They insist that the timetable will not be changed despite the interruption brought about by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.