Osaka Receives Proposal for Casino Resort

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura has acknowledged receipt of a proposal to build a US$9 billion Integrated Resort (IR) including a casino at Yumeshima, a manmade island in Osaka Bay which is also earmarked to host the 2025 World Expo.

In the end, only one consortium bid for the project, which earlier attracted interest from about half a dozen potential competitors. The single bid is led by MGM Resorts International and the Orix Corporation as equal partners, but will also include smaller partners from among local companies.

“I am grateful to have received this proposal,” Yoshimura told reporters, “I want to proceed steadily so that an IR that is comparable to Las Vegas or Singapore can be built in Osaka.”

Osaka is competing with three other local governments—Yokohama, Nagasaki, and Wakayama—to receive one of three available licenses that the central government is expected to grant next year for casino resort development.

This will be done under the terms of the IR Implementation Act that was forced through the parliament by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its allies in July 2018.

Japanese “Integrated Resorts” will be legally mandated to include luxury hotels, conference and exhibition facilities, and tourism promotion offices in addition to the casino. By law, the casino can occupy up to 3% of the total floor area of the entire IR, with the aim being that family-friendly non-gambling areas will make up the bulk of the complex.

If it is licensed next year, the Osaka IR at Yumeshima is not expected to actually open its doors to the public until some time between 2028 and 2030.

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