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Japan – Osaka casino tender to start in earnest in December

By - 18 November 2019

Hirofumi Yoshimura, the Governor of Osaka Prefecture, has confirmed that Osaka will launch the next stage of its formal tender process for an IR operator in December.

With a series of big-name, international casino operators pulling out of Osaka, the tender is now believed to include just three casino names: MGM Resorts, Genting Singapore and Galaxy Entertainment.

The Osaka government wants to open a casino resort on Yumenoshima, an artificial island in Osaka Bay, laying out a timeline of Spring 2020 for when it will name its selected casino operator.

Governor of Osaka Prefecture Hirofumi Yoshimura said he wants the resort to open before the World Expo is held on Yumenoshima in 2025. The operator will have to pay $180m towards the cost of extending the Osaka Metro Chuo Line to Yumeshima.

Ichiro Matsui, Mayor of Osaka, said: “We want to build a city that can compete not just with Tokyo, but also Shanghai and Singapore.”

MGM is teaming up with local entity Orix and at least ten local companies, revealing it would invest $9bn in the Osaka project.

Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International, said: “MGM Resorts remains deeply committed to pursuing an integrated resort in Osaka, Japan. We announced our ‘Osaka First’ strategy and have not wavered from that plan. We have always had confidence in our position, as what we will bring to Osaka is something only MGM Resorts can deliver.

“We will bring world class entertainment, exciting cultural events, convention expertise, and premium dining and retail experiences that will have broad appeal both nationally and internationally. We have extensive experience in developing and operating large scale integrated resorts across multiple regions. MGM Resorts will develop a truly unique destination that will generate significant economic activity for the region and increase employment opportunities while delivering an attractive return for all stakeholders.

“We are also excited about our partnership with Orix, a highly respected Japanese company with a strong presence in Osaka, as we jointly pursue this venture,” he added. “Together, we are working to submit our response to the ‘request for concept,’ and look forward to the next steps in the process.”

Galaxy Entertainment is partnering with Monaco’s Société des Bains de Mer and has said it will be focusing on quality rather than the cost of its project. It said recently: “Our Japan based team continues with our Japan development efforts. We view Japan as a great long term growth opportunity that will complement our Macau operations and our other international expansion ambitions. GEG, together with Monte-Carlo SBM from the Principality of Monaco and our Japanese partners, look forward to bringing our brand of World Class IRs to Japan. We continue to strengthen our Japan Development team and build our resources as we move forward in the Integrated Resort process.”

Genting Singapore said recently that it would issue Japanese yen-denominated bonds up to a value of JPY350bn(US$3.2bn) to help fund a project in Osaka.

“At such point when the company actually issues bonds pursuant to the shelf registration, the company will file a supplement shelf registration statement with the KLFB and release further announcements setting out the terms and conditions of each such issuance,” it said.

Caption: MGM’s plans for Osaka

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