Osaka Publishes Policy Draft for IR Implementation

Osaka reveals approximate date for Integrated Resort bidding process. Multiple companies to participate.

Osaka Prefecture Issues Plans for Integrated Resort Bidding Process

Caught in the race for the country’s first Integrated Resort (IR), the Osaka prefecture in Japan has issued an implementation policy draft, outlining the conditions for a project to arrive in Yumeshima.

Based on the draft, Osaka is planning to launch the bidding process, referred to as Request for Proposal, before 2019 is out. Osaka will then have six months to pick and reach an agreement with a foreign investor.

In the draft, the prefecture specifies that an operator will be named by June 2020 and construction could then begin, on time for the 2025 World Expo. A final approval would be necessary from the central government as well.

So far, however, Japan’s government has said that no bidding proposals will be accepted before January 2021, providing prefectures with sufficient time to launch their own Request for Proposal and attract foreign capital. MGM Resorts has been one of the foreign companies to confirm that building an IR on time would be challenging but within the realm of the possible.

A total of three Integrated Resorts are expected to arrive in the country over the next decade. Yet, Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura has advised caution on the matter, as no strict timeline can be followed as of the present moment.

Quoted by Inside Asia Gaming, Mr. Yoshimura had this to say:

“No area has received certification from the government so no one can formally announce an exact date.”

Yoshimura is also considering the feasibility of the project. With a strict four-year deadline for the 2025 World Expo, officials are considering a partial rollout of the resort and finishing works done after the grand opening.

Attracting Foreign Capital

Apart from a casino, the project must include over 100,000 square metres of exhibition facility as well as a conventional hall able to host at least 6,000 people. The resort would also need a hotel with a capacity of at least 3,000 rooms.

As a precondition of any foreign participation in the Integrated Resort, any brand will need to contribute at least JPY20.2 billion for the completion of the Chuo line subway. Part of the casino’s winnings will also be used to boost infrastructure in the region.

Earlier this year, Sheldon Adelson returned to Las Vegas Sands Q3 earnings call, supporting board members in the company’s commitment to Japan. According to LVS, at least $12 billion would need to be invested in Japan for an IR to be of the desired quality.

While Eldorado has dropped out of the race now, many other brands are pushing strongly to be part of the first Integrated Resort and secure the rights to build it. The project has been called the best long-term project by industry experts.

MGM Resorts Ready to Bid for Osaka IR

With Osaka’s bidding process on the cards, MGM Resorts International and Orix Corp have said they will be moving forward with a bid of their own. The information was related to GGR Asia with a spokesperson for the companies commenting that the companies were on the move.

MGM has long had presence in Osaka, forming a consortium and planning investment ahead. Meanwhile, both Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd and Genting Singapore Ltd have said they would participate, making for an interesting bidding process up ahead.

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