It might be taking longer than expected, but Japan’s attempt to bring integrated resorts (IR) to the country is moving forward. There are several cities still vying for position as one of the first three to be selected to host a major casino, and Osaka remains at the top of the list. As anxious as the city is to see an IR come to its landscape, casino operators haven’t shown the same level of enthusiasm, and only one candidate remains. As the city’s request-for-proposal (RFP) period ended yesterday, MGM Resorts International is ready to be given the green light to bring its gaming experience to the country.
MGM Stands Alone In Osaka IR Process
Osaka had expected to launch its RFP much sooner than it did, but COVID-19 and issues with Japan’s Basic IR Plan forced several delays. These served to weed out some of the less serious gaming operators, including Galaxy Entertainment, Wynn Resorts, and Genting Singapore. All three had previously shown interest in an Osaka gaming facility, but that interest had waned by the earlier part of last year, with only MGM remaining committed to Osaka as the perfect destination for its entry into Japan.
MGM has partnered with Orix Corp., a Japanese financial firm, to introduce an IR to Osaka and has continued to receive a lot of support from the local government for its efforts. The partnership was the only one to have registered when Osaka first announced it was ready to take bids, and, as yesterday’s RFP deadline approached, no other entity stepped forward to challenge the pair. With a strong presence in Asia through MGM China, MGM’s regional experience and strong backing give the company a lot of security to enter Osaka with a well-developed and funded plan.
The IR Hunt Continues
It isn’t yet certain that Osaka will be chosen as one of the initial three host cities, but the odds are in its favor. Next up, MGM has to submit a formal proposal of its IR plans, most likely this July, after which Osaka will review it and make an official announcement by September. After that, the city has to send to Japan’s national government its entire IR proposal package, which will include the city’s planned economic contribution efforts, as well.
Currently, Japan’s national IR team is expected to receive prospective host cities’ proposals before the fourth quarter of the year. Between