New Yokohama mayor not interested in IR bid

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In a mayoral race upset, Takeharu Yamanaka has been named the newest mayor of Yokohama. The city in Japan has been considering bidding for a casino resort, but with Yamanaka in charge, that is unlikely to happen. After winning the race, Yamanaka spoke to the media, revealing a formal statement will be issued soon making it clear the city will not be bidding to host a casino.

The Mayor Race

Yamanaka was able to win the position of mayor with more than 33% of the votes. The former university professor was supported by the Social Democratic Party, the Japanese Communist Party, and the Democratic Party of Japan.

In the past, it was believed that Yokohama would be in the running for the integrated resort casino. The city is the capital of Kanagawa and is the second-largest city in Japan, next to Tokyo. While the area would be perfect for a casino, Yamanaka is strongly opposed to the idea. Instead of using property that had been set aside for a casino, the new mayor feels the land would be better suited to house hotels and concert halls, among other facilities.

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There were seven candidates running for mayor of the city. In support of the IR resort was Fumiko Hayashi, an incumbent that was seeking a fourth term in office. Unfortunately, supporters of the plan did not receive enough votes for the position.

Strong Opposition

While Hayashi was hopeful to return to the mayoral position and bring the IR resort to Yokohama, other running mates aside from Yamanaka were also opposed. As the race heated up, Hachiro Okonogi came out in opposition to the plan.

Okonogi is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party and had to resign as the chairman of the National Public Safety Commission in order to run for mayor. In a press conference back in June, Okonogi stated if he were named mayor, any plans to bring a casino to the city would be shelved. Both Okonogi and Yamanaka revealed that other ideas should be used to bring in revenues to the city instead of gambling.

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As far as a casino for Japan is concerned, operators are showing interest. Genting Singapore Ltd, operator of Resorts World Sentosa is considered a contender in the race to see which company will receive licensing. Also in the mix is Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd., a company with casinos located in the Philippines and in Macau.

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