Japan’s Delayed Decision on Osaka IR Could Push Proposed Opening Past 2029
- MGM Resorts said its proposed IR in Osaka won’t open in 2029 if approval isn’t granted soon
- Japan’s national govt. was expected to make a decision in autumn 2022
- Osaka and Nagasaki both submitted their IR proposals back in April 2022
MGM Resorts International who has previously expressed confidence in Japan’s gaming potential has now expressed concern over the Japanese government’s delayed feedback on its integrated resort (IR) proposal for Osaka, saying it would be difficult for the company to meet its target opening date for the casino development if a decision on the matter isn’t released sooner.
2029 Opening Date Hard to Achieve Due to Delayed Approval
MGM Resorts is planning to build a world-class resort destination on Osaka’s man-made Yumeshima Island in partnership with the Japanese diversified financial services group ORIX. The project, which will cost approximately US$10 billion, will feature gaming facilities, hotel rooms, convention and exhibition spaces, entertainment venues, and a dedicated Japanese tourism zone.
MGM previously stated that it was aiming to launch the Osaka IR development in 2029. But with the national government yet to select its preferred bidder for Japan’s first IR, the gaming giant said it will be “challenged” in terms of opening the casino resort before the current decade ends.
During MGM Resorts’ Q4 earnings call this week, CEO Bill Hornbuckle said they haven’t heard from the central government since submitting their proposal in April 2022, adding that they had expected to receive feedback in October but that did not happen.
Hornbuckle said they remain patient and hopeful that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the government agency tasked with reviewing the IR proposals from Osaka and Nagasaki, makes a decision soon.
Osaka Mayor Ichiro Matsui stated in November last year that the national government had requested the local authorities in the region to submit additional documents regarding land issues on the proposed IR development on Yumeshima Island.
The following month, Nobuyuki Baba, a national MP for Osaka, implied that the project would be approved before the end of January, citing his party leadership’s discussions with the central government. Baba was among politicians calling on the government to speed up the IR approval process.
Anti-Casino Advocate to Run for Osaka Governor
Osaka will hold its gubernatorial and mayoral elections on April 9, 2023. Incumbent governor Hirofumi Yoshimura, who strongly backs the IR proposal, confirmed he would seek re-election.
Yoshimura will be up against 47-year-old Mayumi Taniguchi, associate professor of international law who is opposed to Osaka’s IR plan. Taniguchi’s candidacy will reportedly be supported by “Update Osaka”, an anti-casino political group.