MGM Resorts Selected as Operator for Proposed Osaka Casino

by Natasha Lyndon - Tuesday, September 28th, 2021 11:00

The proposed casino will be built in the Yumeshima Island Dsitrict near Osaka Port

The Osaka prefectural and city governments have chosen MGM Resorts International and Orix Corporation to operate a casino-centered integrated resort on a man-made island in Osaka Bay.

The joint venture by the two companies will see a resort built in the Yumeshima Island District with an initial investment of 1.08 trillion yen ($9.7 billion).

Although the consortium was the only bidder to build and operate the casino, a selection committee still needed to ratify the proposal before the local government could make a final decision.

The committee presented the prefectural and city governments with a report on Sept. 22 that praised the plan as “very ambitious” and aimed to “elevate the urban brand strength of Osaka to the next level through global competitiveness.”

The proposed resort will have a conference facility with a maximum capacity of more than 6,000 people, a facility with a 20,000-square-meter exhibition space, a hotel with 2,500 rooms, and a casino.

It is estimated that 15,000 jobs will be created as a result of the initiative and that a total of 20.5 million guests could visit the resort each year. 14 million of those guests are expected to come from the United States alone.

Due to the new coronavirus epidemic, local governments suggested in February that the creation of an integrated resort may be done gradually to reduce the initial cost. However, MGM and Orix’s proposal seeks to meet the majority of the conditions that the local governments have sought prior to opening.

Yumeshima’s municipal governments will now get started on a development plan so the governments can submit the proposal to the central government some time around April 2022. This can only be done following approval from prefectural and municipal assemblies.

Under Japan’s new gambling legislation, as many as three integrated resorts will be developed in the country. A decision has yet to be made by the central government as to where these casino resorts will be located.

The MGM Resorts deal is the second major agreement announced by a local government. The first was signed by the Nagasaki prefecture government and Casinos Austria despite allegations of ethical irregularities and has since been sent to the central government for approval.

A final decision on casino resort locations is expected some time in 2022.

Natasha Lyndon

Based in London, Natasha is a former sports journalist with experience working for some of the biggest athletes & brands in the world of sports and iGaming.